‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ delivers with intriguing story
Seven strangers. One hotel. A whole lot of conspiracy, chaos and violence.
“Bad Times at the El Royale” flaunts its flair a little too much at times, but still maintains a captivating story, even though it is a Tarantino imitator.
The El Royale was once a luxurious, booming hotel that sits on the border of California and Nevada. When seven strangers coincidentally convene at the hotel on one night, tensions rise. All the people — a priest, soul singer, a salesman, two sisters, the manager and Billy Lee — are there for their own motives that interfere with one another. Once night falls, the El Royale is no longer a place of peace.
Just hearing what the film is about showcases how interesting the film is. The movie keeps its promise of intrigue by delivering a story that is filled with twists and turns. With a nonlinear storyline, the movie acts like a puzzle, which adds another layer to the mystery. The unique story and the way the film is told make it hard to take your eyes off it. With seldom predictable moments, I was on edge onto what would happen next. The movie made me experience a wide range of emotions as it drew me in masterfully.
The performances are just as worthwhile as the story. With an extremely talented cast, it was hard for the film to go wrong.
Usually a film struggles to balance the actors’ presence with a caliber as great as this cast; the film manages to impress again, providing all actors their own time to shine. The real standout performance came from Chris Hemsworth as Billy Lee. Intimidating as can be, Hemsworth showed his talent of bringing out his dark side. A real surprise was the from upcoming Lewis Pullman, who gave an extremely emotional performance. As each character was given ample screen time, it allowed the actors to really flesh them out. The fantastic character development made the audience attached to every character, making the film all the more effective.
From the very first well-crafted shot, the film gives a taste of its high-quality execution. Beautiful cinematography encapsulates the ornate El Royale’s set design. The retro soulful soundtrack helps to make the viewer feel at home with the ’70s time-period of the film. The film is dripping with style, which is what makes it so special. There are times when there is a bit too much style, however. This is no short movie; there are multiple instances where the film’s panache steals more running time than it needs too, resulting in some scenes that were dragged. Nevertheless, I would rather have too much than none at all.
Like the neon lights of the El Royale sign, the film calls for the attention of moviegoers, deservedly so.