Bad Times at the El Royale, written and directed by Drew Goddard is a rave of the moment. The movie parades array of movie stars such as Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm and Dakota Fanning. Shot in a hotel where each character had their secrets uncovered and their dark past unveiled. The movie is indeed a crime thriller. Putting aside some of the exaggerated scenes, El Royale is actually a beauty to behold. Goddard did a pretty good job with the setting which actually gets to tell its own story. We might be tempted to say El Royale itself was a character.
El Royale opens with a group of strangers arriving at the ‘pretty’ looking hotel, which is sited between the border of Nevada and California. We get to see the soul singer Darlene Sweet (Erivo), salesman Laramie Sullivan (Hamm), the ‘aged’ priest Father Flynn (Bridges) and the blunt Emily (Johnson).
Of interest is the El Royale itself, a hotel with adorable beauty; posh floors, golden jukebox and the secret hallway just behind the rooms where the guests are being spied on. It didn’t take long before the characters got to know that they were watched and could also watch others. This was an exposition Goddard wanted the characters to unravel themselves. The unraveling of the secrets made the movie worthwhile.
Bad Times at the El Royale is a movie full of twists and turns; every of the characters gets to take the spotlight on the head. Apart from the fact that there were too many frightening surprises just as when Sweet smashed Father Flynn’s head with a bottle, the movie was littered with jigsaw pieces that looks so simple after the resolution. We might get to feel unease with the several scenes that seem to be of unnecessary details and of no concrete essence to the actual development of the plot of the movie. The slow pace at which the movie gets to its climax brings boredom along with it.
However, as much as we get entangled with the some of the intrigues the movie tries to unveil, there were moments when the movie seems to lose its brilliance. We get interested sometimes and some scenes get to turn the audience off. Obviously, we can be vindicated if we had actually wanted the movie to wrap up earlier. The energizing initial moments of the movie were made mess of at the latter end. Do we need to dwell on some unexpected and unnecessary violence? Or do we talk about the over familiar scenes the movie gets to show? What seems paramount was the resolution which we all looked up to.
Bad Times at the El Royale, in all modesty lacks true substance. Consistency in the plot was an attribute that we didn’t get to see. The beauty portrayed in the movie did not do enough to erode our reservations. Despite the weird plot structures which might be termed recursive, Bad Times at El Royale was amazing with the screenplays and the unexpected expositions. We actually expected more owing from the initial exposure Goddard introduces us to. But we are left in the valley of decisions as to why Goddard chose an ending of such nature.
Despite the several concerns raised about the movie “Bad Times at the El Royale”, we can actually say it was more of a success than an excess.