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Jeff Bridges – Donald “Doc” O’Kelly / Daniel Flynn
Cynthia Erivo – Darlene Sweet
Jon Hamm – Dwight Broadbeck / Seymour ‘Laramie’ Sullivan
Dakota Johnson – Emily Summerspring
Lewis Pullman – Miles Miller
Cailee Spaeny – Rose Summerspring
Chris Hemsworth – Billy Lee
Nick Offerman – Felix O’Kelly
It’s probably the convincing set and scenery which make this movie so authentic. Steeped in fur rugs and bright funky decor, Hemsworth et al take to the screen to string together a sequence of events that explore the hidden secrets of each hotel guest. From a direction point of view it makes entertaining watching; delivering each story in bitesize bits so that the movie doesn’t contain too many lengthy scenes. Along with this is the filming technique which shows events unfold from various angles and speeds.
The thing going on with the hotel mirrors adds a nice twist to this story. Darkly sinister and slightly perverted, the concept of the building itself being structured like a Big Brother house (a cavity behind its walls people can walk through) means the viewer is plunged into something equally as shifty as a few of the character’s histories.
Bad Times at the El Royale sets itself apart from other movies of recent times just by using situation drama; the concept of a handful of complete strangers ending up in the same area as certain things start to happen. It has a faint hint of The Hateful Eight (2015) about it, thus providing nothing original in terms of story but at the same time being vastly different to the cinematic releases we’ve had of recent days.
This movie is no good unless you thrive off watching random people check in to a hotel and do weird things, along with some very violent images. It’s really the style of direction which makes it bearable as the rest of it goes to shit. The shit includes a lengthy check-in process where the bellboy stands describing the various sections of the hotel. Donald (Bridges) stood exchanging conversation with different people in the lobby which isn’t overly exciting. And nearer the end of the movie flashbacks to an earlier stage of Emily’s (Johnson) life which shows how her sister initially got involved with Hemsworth’s spiritual Billy. Good god it can get boring during certain parts.
Bad Times at the El Royale is one to watch if you have a spare hour or two and fancy something weird. Really weird.
Say you’re cosied up on the sofa one evening with a nice bit of food, and you fancy something different to watch on Netflix (a movie like this should have no problem finding its way on to Netflix) – stick this one on. Although its structure is slightly shabby and some dialogue can be tediously questionable, Bad Times at the El Royale nicely fills its screen time, along with a diverse mix of actors to bring you the story. The added bonus is that each character has his or her own secrets. And some are hiding more than others..