Early 1970s. Four strangers check in at the El Royale Hotel. The hotel is deserted, staffed by a single desk clerk. Some of the new guests' reasons for being there are less than innocent and some are not who they appear to be.
Six strangers, (Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny and Lewis Pullman) each with their own secrets, meet at the El Royale hotel of Lake Tahoe. Taking place over one night, alliances are made and secrets are revealed.
Chris Hemsworth and Jeff Bridges have both appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hemsworth played the protagonist Thor and Bridges played the antagonist Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger. In this film, Bridges is the protagonist and Hemsworth is the antagonist. See more »
The jukebox was playing late 1960s tunes on 78 RPM records. These would have been 45 RPM singles. See more »
Written by Joe South
Performed by Deep Purple
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing See more »
Check in to the El Royale!
I had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of 'Bad Times at the El Royale' thanks to the Alamo Drafthouse.
If you've seen 'Cabin in the Woods' then you have a good idea of what director Drew Goddard brings to the table. He brings that same sense of style and flare to the El Royale. The film looks great and hooks you in from the start. If I had to describe the feel, I'd say it's Tarantino meets Hitchcock. It takes its time introducing and fleshing out the characters while unfolding the plot in a way that's always interesting. The revelations are put together with a ton of craft and it has a great mix of dark comedy. A little long towards the end but the pay off is worth it.
Speaking of characters, the cast is fantastic. Jon Hamm brings his 'Mad Men' charm along with a dash of great comedic timing. Jeff Bridges gives one of his best roles since 'True Grit' and he has great chemistry with Cynthia Erivo. Their scenes together are some of the best and this is sure to be a breakout role for her. Same goes for Lewis Pullman who plays the Hotel everything(you'll get the joke when you see it) as he delivers a purposefully awkward but strong character. Chris Hemsworth gives us something that we haven't seen from him before but the less said about that, the better. Dakota Johnson and Cailee Spaeny were a mixed bag for me. They had some great scenes but the characters were my least favorite.
Another star in the film is the perfect soundtrack. Not only because of the song choices themselves but also how they are intertwined with the flow and action of the scenes.
If you're looking for something fresh and different, this is one to check out as soon as possible. One of my favorites of the year. Its one that is difficult to review without giving away too much, so I'll just wrap this up. I look forward to watching it again.
8 out of 10.
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