Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
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I think the writer-director wanted to push through one too many ideas and storylines without fully developing them to make them interesting. The FBI and the cult-ish angle could've been more thought out.
The ending or rather the last third also fizzled out for me a little but overall it was enjoyable.
Bad Times at the El Royale is set in a hotel literally sitting on the state line between California and Nevada, introducing the concept of duality from the beginning. The end of the trendy 60s and start of the corrupted 70s, red and black, rain and fire, good and evil... and the duality within as well. No character here is what they seem at first, or even at second, if you'll pardon the expression. So I don't want to say too much because almost everything is meant to be a surprise. But it is about making choices. While one character says choosing right and wrong is merely a distraction perpetrated by those on high so they can take advantage, I think the film itself has a different opinion, and ultimately this Coen-sized fiasco story belongs to lounge singer Darlene because she gets the best speech, a bold choice of sorts that sends us into the climax as surely as if she'd been the action hero of the scene. So while this is a perfectly entertaining and gorgeous-looking ensemble crime picture, it's also about something more. About American amorality, false prophets, and ultimately, what it means to do the right thing.
A lot of Tarantino influence in this one. Goddard's new film starts out good and is quite entertaining for the first act. But the film loses steam as character's backstories are delved into for too long and it starts to get predictable once Chris Hemsworth's character shows up. The film jumps around too much in terms of settings when it really needs to focus more on the El Royale.
The character of Darlene Sweet was, in my opinion, a little too simple. I wanted to see her have an ulterior motive or a dark past. She has a great voice and Goddard wanted to display this but I feel it was a bit overused at times.
None of the cast members really stood out to me. Jeff Bridges was alright and Cynthia Erivo (Darlene) was good but there wasn't really an actor that elevated themselves above the rest.
An entertaining movie but a concept and plot that has been done numerous times, some even better than this. Give it a go if you want a decent movie to watch or if you are a fan of Drew Goddard which is why I went.
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