Bad Times at the El Royale – Movie Review

Trailer: https://youtu.be/y7wzBVARwaU

Rating: B+

Positives

  • A star in the making can be found in this film, as Cynthia Erivo makes her feature film acting debut. Erivo, already a staple on the stage with a Tony and a daytime Emmy under her belt, but here she reveals herself as a true revelation. Erivo’s performance seemingly stops all other characters in their tracks. Along with the electric Erivo, Jeff Bridges gives a strong layered performance here. Bridges brings a inner struggle to his character, which brings arguably the best scene in the film.
  • The direction by Drew Goddard brings prowling camera movements, along with a fantastic slow paced tracking shot. Drew Goddard brings a film soaked in whiskey that slowly turns from a Motown daydream into a Charles Manson nightmare, while also breaking down and disavowing the term the “good ole days”.
  • Drew Goddard’s screenplay channels a mix of Tarantino and Agatha Christie. All of the characters Goddard brings to the table start off very intriguing. But as we go along two separate from the pack very much, those being both Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo’s characters, “Father Daniel Flynn” and “Darlene Sweet”. The presented back story for the two characters takes shape greatly for their interactions throughout the film. Goddard’s screenplay also brings an interesting look at the depth of the human experience. The interactions of all different kinds of people all carrying their own kind of baggage to the “El Royale” and as they all experience a twisted purgatory-esque therapy.
  • The cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is stellar. McGarvey’s use of reflection of light off rain is fantastic and brings a stylish haunting color palette to the film.
  • The production design by Martin Whist and set decoration by Hamish Purdy are both phenomenal. They capture the time period so well and bring a lot to the films aesthetic.

Negatives

  • This film has big ensemble and though there are some great characters there are also some very dull one-note ones as well.
  • There are a lot of flashbacks and cutaways throughout the film and some work very well developing the characters. But there is one right in the middle of the finale of the film that cuts away at a pivotal moment and kills some of the tension.
  • This film gets a little complicated at times and I have no problem with that, but when it’s all over in the end it seems way over-complicated for the resolution we get.

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