Bad Times at the El Royale

So this weekend we had a few interesting movies. One of which was Bad Times at the El Royale starring Jeff Bridges (The Little Prince, Iron Man, The Men Who Stare at Goats), Cynthia Erivo (Broad City *Series, Widows) Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey, How to be Single, 21 Jump Street) and Jon Hamm (Baby Driver, Minions, Million Dollar Arm).

So here’s the thing about this movie it seems to be an either you love it or you hate it kind of deal. There is no in between with this one. And strangely enough, those on the hater’s end seem to want to compare this movie to a Tarantino Film. How is that possible? There was no gay rape anywhere in this movie! But let’s get down to it:

BTER starts off with four strangers meeting up at the El Royale. Jeff Bridges as Father Flynn a holy man from a small town, Cynthia Erivo as Darlene Sweet a singer trying to make it to the big times, Dakota Johnson as Emily Summerspring a hippie with an attitude and Jon Hamm as Laramie Sullivan a fast-talking vacuum salesman. The rundown motel which has seen better days sits right dab in the middle of Nevada and California. With just a step over the red line, you can either stay in Sunny California or the home of Sin City Nevada. Once the guests get checked into their rooms it becomes immediately known that each one of them has something to hide. Some darker than others. Well everyone except Darlene who just seems to be in too many wrong places at once! Father Flynn is not really a priest, Emily seems to be a kidnapper and Laramie is an undercover cop. Oh and let’s not forget the bell boy Miles Miller played by Lewis Pullman (Lean on Pete, Battle of the Sexes) who also has some skeletons in the closet. And when Laramie begins snooping around he winds up finding the El Royale’s whopper of a secret that sets the movie into fast motion and forces each unsavory character’s path’s to collide! Violently!

Now when I say set the movie into fast action I mean just that…for probably the first forty-five minutes then the momentum gradually begins to slow. Don’t get me wrong the movie still finds ways to keep you engaged but I think the problem lies in the backstories for each character. And I get it we’re all supposed to wonder ‘What happened to put them in this situation in the first place’? That kind of thing but to stop in the middle of the main plot like every single time something is just getting good! Suspense builder or momentum killer? You can be the judge but I’ve already made my vote. Another thing I didn’t like was that some of the back stories were a little confusing to me. Mainly the one regarding Emily and her younger sister sometimes their flashbacks were literally just flashes and I was left thinking could we just rewind that for a second? Felt like it was kinda important had no idea what it was. However, if given the chance I would watch this movie mainly for the cinematography alone. The lighting, the visual effects, the direction and the all-star cast (I love you Jon Hamm) allowed this movie to come to life in such a way I can sorta forgive the lengthy and slightly confusing script.

Bad Times at the El Royale is rated R for strong violence, language, some drug content and brief nudity.

Currently, this stunning thriller is at a 72% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes! I like that!

I did like this. It could have been better in my opinion but whatever. I don’t make movies I just review them. But if you do decide on this movie go in there with an open mind. Know you will either give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down. But it’s pretty hard to find the middle ground here.