Review: At first glance, it might appear that Mr Tarantino had something to do with the production of Bad Times at the El Royale. You’d be forgiven if you thought that, but it is, in reality, one of the many films today that aim to mimic his style. It has been, in fact, directed by the talented Drew Goddard who is credited with writing acclaimed scripts like Lost, The Martian, Cloverfield and some of you know him as the creator of the Daredevil TV series.
The film features an ensemble cast in multifaceted roles including Jeff ‘The Dude’ Bridges who always reminds me of The Big Lebowski, John Hamm in his trademark charismatic form, Lewis Goodman as the PTSD afflicted nervous concierge battling his inner demons and the lovely Cynthia Erivo who enthrals us with as much her acting as her amazing voice. Without revealing any spoilers, my only gripe is that one of them had a limited screen presence. Then, well, there’s Dakota Johnson who has been terribly miscast in this role trying to protect her little sister from a cult leader played by Chris Hemsworth. Hemsworth, who has previously collaborated with Goddard in ‘The Cabin In The Woods’ is, to put it plainly, literally insufferable with his over the top dialogue delivery. I don’t know what’s more ruined for me – the MCU with the image of Thor gyrating his hips to Deep Purple’s ‘Hush’ cover or the actual song itself.
To be fair, Bad Times at the El Royale has its moments. Its first half has all the elements of a taut thriller and the stylistic flair to match it but is ultimately let down by a flat and predictable climax and lazy writing, where you’re constantly left looking at your watch instead of feeling any empathy for the characters. With a better second half, this could easily have been one of the best suspense thrillers of 2018. But sadly, it doesn’t have it. My rating is 2.5/5.
Who should watch this: This movie will definitely appeal to all the Coen Brothers and Tarantino fans out there. If you need something to watch between The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs and Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, well, this is your pick.