Director: Drew Goddard
Writer: Drew Goddard
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Lewis Pullman, Cailee Spaeny, and more.
I really enjoy when films come out of nowhere and instantly grab my attention and my desire to watch them. I caught a trailer for “Bad Times at the El Royale” on social media a couple of months ago and I was immediately hooked. Directed and written by the mastermind of “Cabin in the Woods”, Drew Goddard, I just knew that this film was gonna have some wild s*&$ happening. Now the time has finally come to see if my expectations were going to be met.
“Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.”
As I anticipated, “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a rocking wild time. This film is literally all over the place and in all the proper ways possible. With that, El Royale pays serious homage to the Tarantino style and maybe most prominently “Pulp Fiction”. A story is weaved through multiple perspectives, starting separate at times and eventually blending together for one grand finale. For me, I was all in on the story throughout the entire film. Even more so, I got upset sometimes when they had to cut a story line in order to explain another one. Which is hardly a bad thing, just a selfish thing.
Just as I said in regards to the Tarantino style of this film, the characters are simply remarkable in this film. Each character has a unique layer to them until you finally get down to their core (i.e. the finale once all characters are raw and exposed). Despite being on screen for the duration of the film or for a short while, each one is memorable and prominent for “Bad Times at the El Royale”. I could not get enough of them.
I feel terrible to say I have a favorite because everyone was so strong but I must say that Chris Hemsworth has one of most entertaining and at the same time, gripping performances for this film. I think he is most impactful for me because I am so used to him as the immaculate Thor of the Marvel universe. It was refreshing to see Hemsworth do something different and easily see that he has a place beyond the god of thunder. This is similar to how I felt when I watched Henry Cavil in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”.
My other quick nods of appreciation for real go to the remainder of the cast. Everyone was so impactful. Jon Hamm is a multi-personality talent for his character. Jeff Bridges presents an emotional performance. Cynthia Erivo is a powerhouse and I am HYPED for the film “Widows” she is in. Dakota Johnson completely separates herself from her Fifty Shades role and puts on a commanding performance. Up-and-coming Cailee Spaeny is sadistic and chilling. Lastly, and maybe most shocking in regards to character is Lewis Pullman playing Miles Miller. Without spoilers, Miles is a complete shell shock of a character. I loved him.
My only things I could marginally see negatively lie within two things. One, I wished to see the involvement of Lewis’ “management”. I also wished to see more into what mysterious work the El Royale was up to besides being a “perv hotel”. Two, I wished to see Jon Hamm’s characters agency get involved with the story, or at least be explained a tad more. I would assume the FBI was investigating the hotel and Hamm was there doing the investigation but it was pretty open. I just wanted more.
“Bad Times at the El Royale” lived up to the hype. Drew Goddard’s style was all over the film as well as the Tarantino influences. With personality rich characters and a story-telling format that many film lovers know and love, this film was one for the books and will be a diamond in the rough among the 2018 film releases.
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