Review: Bad Times at the El Royale

He's all kinds of bad.

The El Royale is a hotel along the California/Nevada boarder. Tonight, several strangers meet for the first time. A vacuum salesman (Jon Hamm) a lounge singer (Cynthia Erivo) a priest (Jeff Bridges) and a woman who signs the ledger with a polite "fuck you." (Dakota Johnson) Everyone there has a secret that's not going to stay hidden for much longer.

Anything written/directed by Drew Goddard is an easy sell for me. I loved his script for The Martian and what he's done with the Daredevil TV series. Not to mention The Cabin in the Woods, which he directed is one of my all time favorite horror films. He takes on a lot with El Royale

This film would've been much better suited as an eight episode or so mini series. There is so much stuffed into this movie that you feel every minute of its 2 hour and 21 minute run time. You get quick back stories of each character, but it's not enough, and yet too much at the same time. By the time we flashed back to the final too, I was almost impatient, even though you absolutely 
needed to see both of them. Had this been an episodic series, each character could've gotten the history they deserve and it wouldn't fee like too much because you would only be getting an hour at a time. The two strangers that have the most potential back story wise are killed off pretty quickly after they're introduced. 

Cynthia Erivo is the star of this film. Darlene is absolutely stunning and she also felt the most fleshed out since her reason for being at the hotel was pretty straight forward. While the rest of the film likely won't make an appearance, I hope her name does come Oscar season. All of the other actors do a good job as well. All those reviewers that called Hemsworth "Dangerously sexy" were spot on.

Even though it has its issues, I still enjoyed the hell out of watching it. It's shot beautifully and has a catchy sound track. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: "If you find him, let me speak with him first." - Miles (Lewis Pullman)


14 comments:

  1. I was not sure about this film because it could be a very bad movie despite having some great stars in it like Jeff Bridges. The movie reminds me of the film, Identity and I hope it is not a remake of this movie.

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    1. It's nothing like Identity, don't worry! They just all happen to be in a hotel. That's about the only similarity.

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  2. Erivo was great, really everyone in the cast was but I was just drifting there lol I wanted to leave when Hemsworth was monolouging next to that table that's how bored I was

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    1. BUT HIS SHIRT WAS OPEN! lol. Darlene's little fuck you speech to Billy Lee was pretty great though.

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    2. Whats worse his pants were barely hanging on

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    3. He definitely wasn't wearing anything under those.

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  3. I wanted to see this film this weekend but I ended up going with First Man as I wanted to do a double feature but didn't have the time. Especially as I just saw The Cabin in the Woods (HOLY FUCK!!!!!).

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    1. Ahh we were almost twinning! I did a double feature of this and First Man on the same day. lol

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  4. Totally agree that Erivo is the standout (other than Hemsworth, for obvious reasons), and her character definitely felt the most developed. I also thought Jeff Bridges was good, but... the movie as a whole didn't come together for me at all. Overly long and overstuffed with so much stuff that it never really delved into (WHY is there the hallway to spy on the guests? WHO are the owners and WHAT exactly are they making Miles do?). I wish it had been more interesting, because there was SO much potential with these actors.

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    1. Exactly! This wasn't the right medium for this story, had this been a mini series we could've learned all of that. "A pervert hotel" just doesn't sum it up.

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  5. I really liked the movie, too, and you're right, Cynthia was amazing, her voice is out of this world. But to be honest, the movie overall was too long, some things could have been done faster or cut altogether.

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    1. Agreed with the faster part, that's why this would've made a better TV show. You wouldn't have to watch it all at once and still get all that information.

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  6. I can see this working as an episode series. Personally glad it was a film though, as I tend to not watch too many series myself, and likely would've missed out on it in that case. Really dug the hell out of this, though. :P

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    1. I'm glad you did! But there's so many good series out there :P

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