Bad Times At The El Royale, 7.75/10, had me hooked from the off! Many have made reference to this being a Tarantino rip off which I find highly humorous as Tarantino is the master of intertextual references. Therefore, the chances are that the parts of this film you believe to be a Tarantino knock-off are most likely not. Anyway, I intend not to dwell on the negativity surrounding this film too much as I personally only have praise for what director Drew Goddard has created here. This film is a credit to Goddard’s name proving the creative skill that this director has. I went into this film apprehensive of the outcome of this movie as the trailer didn’t divulge too much information. Needless to say, Bad Times At El Royal is unpredictable and the suspense only increases as the plot unfolds. Refreshingly, it does not fall into the usual trap of revealing too much of the narrative in the trailer unlike the majority of this year’s most anticipated films.
The film opens with a gentlemen arriving at the El Royale, entering his room and then burying a bag below the floor boards and promptly returning the room back to its original state. Jump forward 10 years and we are back at the El Royale. It seems the bi-state establishment isn’t what it used to be and may well be covering a darker past than it initially lets off. The El Royale is situated across two states of America: half in Nevada and the other half in California. It is about to open its doors to seven strangers all looking for a chance of redemption. Over the course of one night, the Royale’s guests will go on a journey to destruction with every hour delivering yet another twist.
The cast gave a phenomenal performance and as the film progresses, you become only more invested in the diverse characteristics of each individual. From the darkness of Chris Hemsworth’s character to the vulnerability of Jeff Bridges’ complex role, there will most definitely be a character you walk out and claim was your favourite. Each character profile offers an insightful addition to the depth of this film. The character-driven narrative is one of the many reasons why this film had me invested from the start and maintained my attention throughout. Every back story and every exchange of dialogue drip feeds more and more reason to fall in love with this movie. The choice of colour, sound and costume oozes the America of this time. Goddard divides the film into segments, broken down by the rooms the characters are staying. By doing this, the tension is built slowly throughout. Cleverly selecting which character to explore at which time allows parts of the narrative to overlap developing a further depth to the film which really absorbs the audience member, making them feel like they are the eighth stranger to arrive that night. For a thrilling cinematic experience with a clever, stylish final feature you would kick yourself to miss out on this on the big screen.
Entertainment (of its genre): 7.75/10
Overall Rating: 7.75/10