Nov 032012


This is the eighth post in my “The Best Films Set In…” series. The setting can be a place (like Tokyo), a location (like the beach), or a time (like Winter). In these posts I’m going to pick my 5 favourite films that are set in that particular place/location/time and explain why I like them. Up this week is The Best Films Set In…Hotels.

 the shining

The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

The movie that defined the horror genre and ensured that nobody would ever get a sleep in a hotel/motel with dodgy bright carpet again. Seriously though, I once stayed in a place with really similar carpet and shat myself every time i heard a creak outside my door…..*shudder*


lost in translation

Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)

Wow I bet you’re surprised to see my favourite film pop up in another one of these lists?! (see: The Best Films Set In…Tokyo). Apart from being a brilliant film, this flick uses every inch of the hotel to its advantage. From the late night drinks at the lounge bar, to the early morning vistas of the Tokyo skyline as viewed from the hotel room windows – this is a true hotel film.


barton fink

Barton Fink (Joel & Ethan Cohan, 1991)

The Cohen brothers wrote this screenplay in 3 weeks while struggling with the screenplay for Milller’s Crossing. In my opinion, this smart and tightly-paced film is the far superior film out of the two. Hotel Earle is such a great setting and knowing that the setting was essential to the film’s success, the Cohens put much thought into its development and detail. A horror, a bromance and possibly even a noir film – Barton Fink is a fascinating beast.


Oceans eleven

Ocean’s Eleven (Steven Soderbergh, 2001)

Okay I know some of you will not think this is a hotel film, but just hear me out. The hotel and the casino are effectively one large establishment, and we spend a significant amount of time with the characters as the plan and execute/supervise the job from within the hotel. I love the heck out of this film – a smart and fun action film with a stylish Soderburgh twist, Ocean’s Eleven shits all over the Vegas establishment and has a hell of a time doing so.



Hotel Chevalier (Wes Anderson, 2007)

I am not a huge Wes Anderson fan, but this 2007 short film (which is a prologue of sorts to the feature-film, The Darjeeling Limited) completely won me over. A beautiful 13 minute film in which we learn just enough, but nowhere near what we crave to learn about the fascinating couple. An extended nude scene from the gorgeous Portman is sure to cement the film in the memory of many.

By Sam McCosh
So I am sure I left off some of your favourites – I’d love to hear what they were. Some of the films suggested which didn’t quite make the cut included: Psycho, The Illusionist, Dunston Checks In (nice one Chris Elena), Somewhere, and Home Alone 2 . Films which people suggested but I haven’t seen include: The Bellboy, Bobby, Hotel de Love, The Beyond and 1408.