The Million Dollar Hotel Reviews
A dreary hotel with colourful, if mentally ill residents are investigated by an FBI agent over the possible murder of a son of a wealthy business man. The media attention leads to a money scam involving tar paintings, and the agent's investigations go nowhere, so he becomes close to the hotel retard, Tom Tom, who though acts like a jester, knows more than he leads on. Though this movie makes itself to sound like a murder mystery, it's not really that much. This movie is more like a love story, with the main character and narrator being Tom Tom, and with all the excitement he is able to find the courage to get to know the hotel whore, Eloise, who Tom Tom has a crush on. It's a bit of a moody movie with calm and awkward moments, but each moment is very personal and interesting and often really fun. All the actors play such colourful and wacky characters. It's really cool to see Mel Gibson be in a small movie like this movie. It fits him. But as great as he is, the most interesting stars are Jeremy Davies as Tom Tom, who just does the most ingenius and hilarious actions, and Milla Jovovich who looks as lovely as she does sad and personally destroyed from the inside out.
Wim Wenders as the director was a good choice. This drama heavy story needed somebody who has an artistic vision to get every emotional scene look perfect, yet still make the movie interesting and enjoyable. There is definitely some great cinematography done on this movie that makes simple moments very memorable. The awkwardness of the story though almost draws away from those feelings, but they do pick right back up again. the absolute dilapidated look of this messy hotel sets up a perfect emotional enviroment with great meaning. And even better yet, because of the set look of the hotel, great uses of lighting can be seen as well. These shooting locations and set designs creates a wonderful atmosphere, and mixed with very slow and indie music from the film's producers, Bono and U2, this movie creates an arthouse feel that may take an aquired taste, but is ultimately satisfying and easy to get used to.
It's not a perfect story, it has it's cute moments and it's awkward moments, but The Million Dollar Hotel is just calming, indie, emotional and entertaining enough to be great to watch. Wonderful performances, and some really striking and memorable scenes, The Million Dollar Hotel is a small movie that frankly is highly underrated and doesn't come close to having the amount of respect from critics as it should. May take an aquired taste for the dramatic, but this movie is definitely a rewarding one to see.
It can even get irritating - as you are about to blame the movie for having no spine - or in truth, for lacking, entirely, conventional twists and turns. It throws you off as you are figuring out whether to perceive it as a film of crime or suicide, romance or a freak house, comedy, mockery or living poetry. Like life, this film has it all.
Yet in a sense, the movie is transparent in foreshadowing its three major themes and their resolution - coming from its very heartbeat, the lyrics co-written and performed mostly by Bono. In the opening scene, a young man Tom Tom hurls himself from the roof of a dreary flophouse - "The Million Dollar Hotel" in downtown Los Angeles - committing suicide with a strange joyfulness.