Title: Bad Times at the El Royale
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson
Runtime: 2 hr 21 mins
What It Is: A preacher, a singer and a salesman pull into a hotel. Sounds like the start of a joke, no? Well, Father Daniel Flynn (Bridges), singer Darlene Sweet (Erivo), and salesman Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) have all checked in to the bi-state hotel the El Royale. Half California half Nevada this is a place with a history of secrecy, murder and surveillance. When a woman (Johnson) and her sister bring a mysterious stranger into the mix death and destruction might be the order of the day…or night in this case.
What We Think: A bit of a mess really. Goddard behind the lens (and writing) meant it would be a unique experience. It features a lot of similarities to Hotel Artemis which no one saw. I mean a hotel in which a bunch of strangers must fight their way out of a bad situation made worse…which film is which? Chris Hemsworth is charismatic as a cult leader, Jeff Bridges is good but this is the Cynthia Erivo show. She is absolutely great here. It looks like a million bucks and a ton of shots (see above) look beautiful. Narratively it’s interesting enough, but sadly, it isn’t told very well.
Our Grade: C+, This is one of those films where potential met talent and somehow it wasn’t AS good as I thought I’d be. This isn’t a terrible film. Nah, in fact, it’s got some moments in it that are genuinely great. There’s one scene, in particular, involving Hemsworth character, that brings tension in all the right ways. I recommend this film, slightly. It’s an enjoyable film and it does well to build the story and the setting. Check it out.