Published Sep 01, 2001
Nobody could say director David Weaver's feature-length debut isn't ambitious. Whether it's successful is another question. In "Century Hotel" he intertwines seven stories from different eras of the 20th century, all set in room 720 of the Century Hotel. Each story features its own plot twists and casts, with familiar faces from Canadian stage, TV, commercials, and rock (like Joel Bissonnette, Lindy Booth, Colm Feore, David Hewlett, Sandrine Holt, Janet Kidder, Mia Kirshner, Eugene Lipinski, Tom McCamus, Earl Pastko, Jeremy Ratchford, and the big screen debut of musical couple Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace and Chantal Kreviazuk). Their performances range in quality as much as the stories do. Plots include the tales of a young woman newly married to a brute, a Chinese bride brought to marry a stranger, a WWII vet freshly home to meet his best friend and his lover, a man in search of the wife who ditched him, a shut in, creatively blocked 60s rock genius, a hooker and john who meet once a year to consummate their special connection, and a young couple who've met over the net.
The only attempt to create any continuity through the different stories (other than the room) uses a disappointingly unsophisticated and clumsy device to tie the earliest story from the 1920s to the one from the turn of the millennium. Though slow and clichéd, "Century Hotel" has moments of beauty. In the end, the film is as richly decorated and empty as the hotel in "The Shining," but as Takeshi Miike says "fail this time, succeed next time." David Weaver has learned from this project and probably better pictures in him yet.