The Million Dollar Hotel review

Don't go and see this just because you fancy seeing a Mel Gibson movie. While his production company anteed up a fair chunk of the dough, this is no more your normal Mel movie than Wings Of Desire was an episode of Columbo. He's really a bit-part player here, subordinate to the main story of Tom Tom and Eloise - which is a real shame, because the main story is dull as ditchwater, and the main players are little better.

The more time you spend in the gawky company of Davies (who's to blame for the tranquiliser-laced voice-over and the empty-eyed Jovovich) the more you want to see of Gibson. And even though he's obviously trying to stretch himself by playing a bitter, twisted (literally: a strange complaint requires him to wear a hi-tech back brace at all times) Federal agent, he still radiates the kind of energy which the rest of the film desperately lacks.

This is allegedly a hotel crammed with the psychiatric dregs of society, but these supposedly quirky oddballs with their designer mental problems - Stormare's character believes he's the fifth Beatle who wrote all their songs - appear bleached and lifeless. Wenders sets up some pretty good actors and then never does anything with them. Just as you think he might pull off something interesting plot-wise, it's time for yet another long, lingering shot of clouds or sunsets and a burst of music from U2.

The result is a sporadically pretty movie, but pretty isn't enough to see you through two hours of sitting in a cinema. There's no drive or power here, either in performance or story, adapted from a tale by U2 front man Bono, who clearly should stick to singing and writing lyrics. Break it down into smaller chunks, put it through a bit of re-editing and you'll end up with three or four fairly pleasing, if slightly pretentious, MOR rock videos.

Lazy vanity film-making. If Wenders wants to make movies out of his mate's jottings, then perhaps he could put at least a little effort into them. Until he does, watching tedious stuff like The Million Dollar Hotel will be far too high a price to pay.

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