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  • Gareth Crook

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

I remember seeing the trailer for this and being instantly taken with it. Something about the throwback nostalgia of the 50s Americana, mixed with the unnerving underbelly of knowing all is not well, not right and clearly headed for something terrible (really quite terrible). The characters are strong, Hamm is very good, but Bridges is scene-chewingly masterful. It’s Cynthia Erivo that steals the show though, it’s one helluva show and she’s awesome, slowly prizing the limelight away from the big name stars as the crime caper meets diabolical character study unfolds. The compartmentalising of the characters in their individual motel rooms is very effective, adding tension, with as much to be derived from what’s not seen as what is. Separate stories waiting to entwine as the hotel, central to begin, makes way for their back stories to unweave. Visually it’s highly stylised, dark rainy neon lit nights, punctuated with blows to the head as scenes begin to replay from all angles. It’s a lot of fun. Slick, menacing, psychological fun.



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