The Million Dollar Hotel

Dreams are sometimes surreal. They have surreal imagery and make no sense. The more someone thinks about them, the stranger they become. Some movies are like dreams. The City of Lost Children reminds people of completely bizarre dreams that have no logic but look fantastic. The Million Dollar Hotel is like a dream that people want to forget. It moves hypnotically at times and has a promising start, but goes nowhere. This movie came out over a year ago in Europe, but is only now appearing stateside. Some say that this is the work of one of its stars, who absolutely hated the movie. Bono (of U2 fame) came up with the idea for The Million Dollar Hotel. He and U2 have both been through some odd times, and it seems like the movie comes out of the Zooropa era where nobody understood what the heck they were doing.

The Million Dollar Hotel is an apartment complex populated by all sorts of strange people. For the most part, people ignore it and its inhabitants. Until the death of one of its tenants. FBI Agent Skinner (Mel Gibson, What Women Want, The Patriot) comes to investigate. He believes that it was a murder, not a suicide, and everybody in the hotel is a suspect. Tom Tom (Jeremy Davies, Up at the Villa, Ravenous) was the best friend of the deceased. He walks around acting mentally deficient (but is he acting?). He is in love with Eloise (Milla Jovovich, The Claim, The Messenger), another resident. She floats around, believing she does not exist. Other residents include Dixie (Peter Stormare, Dancer in the Dark, Chocolat), a man who believes he was a Beatle, and Geronimo (Jimmy Smits, Price of Glory, Bless the Child), who Skinner initially thinks is the murderer.

The movie then wavers between Skinner's investigation and the budding relationship between Eloise and Tom Tom. Both stories are uninteresting and ultimately pointless. Bono (with an assist from Nicholas Klein) probably is trying to make a statement about self-identity, but whatever he is doing is too eccentric with little payoff. The only consolation is direction by Wim Wenders (The Buena Vista Social Club, The End of Violence). His penchant for exotic imagery gives the movie an almost otherworldly science fiction look, but that does not help. Instead, actors parade across the screen acting strangely. Gibson, Smits, Jovovich, and Davies ramble their lines and act as if they are on drugs. The latter two in particular take up a decent amount of screen time (think Farrah Fawcett and a 12 Monkeys Brad Pitt), but the minute insight into their characters or why they are causes a sense of tediousness. Lurking just below nearly all the characters is what could be an interesting examination of their psyche, but no one looks at any of this. Bono and frequent collaborators Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois add moody music to the movie, as they have often done with Wenders. The music matches the movie, but Bono, please continue to write music and stay away from writing scripts.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
2 hours, 2 minutes, Rated R for language and some sexuality.

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