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The blurb said "sexy stylish thriller" and "razor-edge suspense classic Hitchcock". This was about as stylish as a down at heel episode of "The Sweeney" or "Minder" from the 1970's. About as racy as an old well thumbed copy of "Reveille" or "Tit-Bits" from a barber's shop in the sixties.Suspenseful as a Victoria station platform alteration announcement. Unpleasant to look at, contrived, nothing to rest the eye on. What SIN CITY had in abundance, this has neither an abstract world nor a real world, but somewhere in between, some construct where there was either too much money or just not enough. The lack of money could have been put to good use and an graphic novel look achieved with spot colour. After a while, the lack of camera movement became irritating. It was just cut, cut ,cut, cut, cut. Not one dolly, not one track, not one pan, not one crane. The characters were badly cast and unsympathetic, like stand-ins who went through their paces because the star actors couldn't make it. In the end I didn't care who survived or who didn't, or why. Perhaps life in these Paddington cheapskate hotels is like this. But I really doubt it. In reality, who is interested in a crummy north London sub-tourist class hotel?
The script was weak, the macguffin uninteresting. The direction: if it took 11 years to achieve this, then with so many stereotypes in the act: the fat receptionist,the old duffer manager, the lazy bellhop, the fat pervert, the lothario, the cool spy, the seedy politician:even the sound effects were off a de wolfe sfx disc: the old bedspring, the creaky door, the traffic hubbub. If this were France and this was a French movie, it would have a drive and zest, not to mention different camera movements and a clever script.
I really cannot fathom how films like this get to be made, when there is so much supposed talent "out there". You learn about movies from great films; you also learn about movies from films such as this. The moral of the tale: never believe the hype, especially when they say "Tour de Force".