The Million Dollar Hotel

What kind of a movie do you get when the great Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire, The Buena Vista Social Club) directs a story — by Bono, no less — in which Mel Gibson stars as an FBI man who investigates a murder in a fleabag L.A. hotel filled with misfits?

As Gibson has already weighed in at a press conference: "I thought it was as boring as a dog's ass."

It's hard to argue. For starters, Gibson plays his role in a neck brace that makes him look like Frankenstein. The movie goes off the edge, just like Izzy Goldkiss (Tim Roth), who takes a flier off the hotel roof in the film's opening scene. Wenders and cinematographer Phedeon Papamichael work up some nifty atmosphere, enhanced by a soundtrack from the likes of Bono and Brian Eno. But the script that Nicholas Klein has conjured from Bono's idea is a quicksand that sucks down a solid cast, including Jeremy Davies, Milla Jovovich and Jimmy Smits. I should mention that Gibson's character was born with a third arm. It doesn't mean anything. It's just that kind of a movie.

From The Archives Issue 864: March 15, 2001