Time for Mike Figgis' second experiment with the cinematic possibilities of digital video. Since developing the Timecode split-screen gimmick (used sporadically here), he's discovered the effects button on his Sony PD100 camera, and thumbs it relentlessly. So actors grope in the dark to demonstrate the night film option. Similarly, there are reduced-frame-rate shots, pixillated colour, static-free fast-forward... everything but the pink Happy Birthday border.
Captured on this camera trickery are, in no particular order, cannibalism, lesbian sex, mistaken identity, flamenco dancing, assassination, coma victim sex and the cocks of Rhys Ifans and Max Beesley. There's also a Dogme crew making a film-within-film of a Jacobean tragedy, and a documentary crew filming them. Multiple stabs at Lynchian surreal horror and an improvised script make the film ramble, as plot failings are pasted over by occasional sex and coarse use of gratuitous cameos. Want to wheel Lucy Liu, John Malkovich or Burt Reynolds in for a few moments? That's the one advantage Figgis has over other experimental filmmakers.
There's a sense that Timecode and Hotel are moving the director towards some epiphany in anti-Hollywood DV filmmaking. But until he reaches it, these plot-free experiments in form will inevitably be appreciated by a limited audience of film buffs and reviled by the entertainment-hungry masses.