Uncovering Curiosities: Terence Gross’ HOTEL SPLENDIDE

Hotel Splendide is a quirky black comedy from 2000 starring a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig in one of the lead roles. It’s a good looking film that owes a lot to the visual styles of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Terry Gilliam, but it fails to hit the mark on a plot engagement level.

Set on an unknown island off the coast of England, Hotel Splendide is a spa-resort run by the Blanche family -Ronald (Craig), Cora (Katrin Cartlidge) and Dezmond (Stephen Tompkinson). Things are running relatively smoothly after the death of their domineering mother when Toni Collette’s Kath arrives and rocks the boat-so to speak.

Hotel Splendide is fuelled by a heating system, which was the deceased matriarch’s final innovation, a human waste powered machine (using the waste from the guests). Through his machine Mrs Blanche lives on, watching her children and making her presence felt, unhappy at the changes which Kath’s arrival brings about. Dezmond is eager to keep the hotel as it was, but change is inevitable. It kind of sounds good, unfortunately it’s not.

If writer/director Terence Gross had spent as much time on the script for Hotel Splendide as he did on the visuals then he might have achieved something that had a lasting impression. It tries to be too weird for its own good, and therefore any potential emotional connection is lost.

A curio of a film rather than an essential movie.