Circa 1968, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors - before everything goes to hell.
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In the late 1960s, an aging priest suffering from early onset dementia, a struggling African American female singer, a talkative salesman on vacation and an unfriendly young woman who may or may not be a hippie, arrive by chance on the same day at Lake Tahoe's "El Royale", a once glitzy but now rundown roadside motel lying on the very border between California and Nevada, and operated by a single troubled staff member who holds many dark secrets. Throughout the day, it becomes increasingly clear that almost no one there is exactly who they seem, but things really go from bad to worse in the evening when heavy rain hits and someone much worse than those inside arrives to find "a friend" and bring hell to all those unlucky enough to be there at the time.Written by
Complete subverts expectations and keeps you at the edge of your seat
Bad Times at the El Royale is an incredibly captivating mystery / thriller, and completely subverts expectations within the first 10 minutes. With an all-star cast, the acting is solid from start to finish, and Lewis Pullman (Miles, the hotel manager) steals the spotlight even with Chris Hemsworth in the mix. The structure of the film feels fresh and simulating, with non-linear storytelling and scenes from multiple perspectives, though at times, the pacing does tend to drag at certain parts. The more energetic scenes are accompanied by an incredible soundtrack, with classics from the 60's; that create a warm and versed vibe. The topics of ultimatums and self reflection are presented, and exceptionally highlight by the cinematography. Several scenes have the character looking through a one-way mirror, presenting a shot with what the character sees and, in the reflection, his/her reaction. There are also parts with vivid color and or contrast paired with beautiful composition that forms a stylistic vintage look. One of the film's problems is leaving open plot threads to hang, one character is believed to be promising and crucial in the beginning of the film but slowly dwindles away all, and connection and potential is lost. Overall Bad Times at the El Royale does a phenomenal job at luring the audience into a story that is at points unpredictable.
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