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.
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Benicio Del Toro,
Stephanie is a single mother with a parenting vlog who befriends Emily, a secretive upper-class woman who has a child at the same elementary school. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to investigate.
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.
Assuming the Richard Nixon press conference shown on TV is happening live (or earlier that day), the film takes place on Jan. 27, 1969. See more »
The desk clerk states that no alcohol can be served on the Nevada side of the hotel.
Nevada has had 24/7 alcohol sales everywhere but Native American reservations since the late 1950s. That would include any place that allowed gambling or served prepared foods such as a sit-down restaurant. See more »
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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