Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I was pretty excited to see Bad Times at the El Royale, and it was not only because Chris Hemsworth is half-naked every time he's on screen, but because the promotional material had me intrigued. Unfortunately, my theatre didn't show it so I had to wait for home release. 

The story takes place in a remote hotel on the California-Nevada border, the El Royale, in 1969. One day during the off-season, the concierge and sole employee at the hotel, Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman) welcomes four unique individuals: Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a Catholic priest; Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), a struggling soul singer; Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm) who claims to be a vacuum cleaner salesman; and Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson), a rude woman. They each have their secret and over the course of the night, they will show their true selves.

I'm going to stop right there as going any further into the plot would spoil it for you, in case you haven't seen the film yet. It's not a spoiler though that the plot, although it's quite thin and its twists aren't always as surprising as they should be, is throughout very compelling and interesting as director Drew Goddard —he also wrote the screenplay— makes wonderful use of flashbacks, which are important to enrich the plot, and alternative point of views.

In Bad Time at the El Royale, Goddard took plenty of time to introduce, give depth and develop the characters and it did pay off as the film has interesting, three-dimensional characters you can care about —I ended up rooting against Chris Hemsworth's character, that's how much I cared about some of the others.

The performances are also great. Jeff Bridges gives yet another excellent performance in the role of Father Flynn as he handles the character's oddness and eccentricities very well. Jon Hamm, whome I wish had more screen time, does a great job as the salesman as he brings his charm along with nice comedic timing. Chris Hemsworth gives a charming performance as cult leader Billy Lee. Dakota Johnson is surprisingly good as Emily, especially if you consider she isn't given a lot to do. The standouts, however, are Cynthia Erivo whose singing performance delivers the character's emotions to perfection, and Lewis Pullman who pulls off an apparently dull character beautifully.

20th Century Fox
Goddard was able to build tension and mystery, while also balancing drama and dark comedy. There's a lot of violence but it somewhat feels appropriate. The cinematography is stunning with its lush colours, the production design is superb, and the soundtrack is fantastic.

Overall, it feels like Bad Times at the El Royale is a Tarantino wannabe but, ultimately, I didn't care because the execution is great, and the film is a hell of a fun ride.


  1. I really want to see this. I heard cool things about it. Especially Chris Hemsworth who looks gorgeous.

  2. I really liked the movie, too, although I felt it was too long (some scenes could have been shorter). I also agree on Erivo and Pullman, they did a great job, they were standouts for me, as well.

    1. I guess you're right, some scenes were a tad too long