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Bad Times at the El Royale

  • Drama
  • Mystery
  • 2018
  • Drew Goddard
  • 135 mins
  • 15

Summary

Thriller starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth and Cynthia Erivo. In 1969, four shady strangers convene at the deserted El Royale hotel. As each of their dark secrets are slowly unveiled and various acquaintances reveal themselves, the guests' stay descends into violent chaos.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Four strangers harbouring secrets check in to a past-its-prime motel with skeletons of its own in this whip-smart and stylish thriller set at the tail-end of the 1960s. Located on the border between California and Nevada (and therefore technically in both states), the El Royale's shady history may or may not be known to the ageing priest (Jeff Bridges), vacuum-cleaner salesman (Jon Hamm), jobbing singer (Cynthia Erivo) and foul-mouthed hippy (Dakota Johnson), but over the course of a single night they all have a date with destiny. Writer/director Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) fashions a slick, hip and constantly surprising movie that mixes Tarantino swagger with old school noir motifs, eliciting top-drawer performances from his ensemble cast, especially Erivo and Hamm, the latter here revisiting Mad Men territory. The period setting and references- oblique or otherwise - to JFK, Charles Manson, Vietnam and the civil rights movement suggest the motel is a metaphor for America itself at the close of a turbulent decade, but, subtexts aside, the narrative gleefully piles on the shocks and suspense with every ping of the front-desk bell.

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Credits

Cast

rolename
Father Daniel FlynnJeff Bridges
Billy LeeChris Hemsworth
Darlene SweetCynthia Erivo
Emily SummerspringDakota Johnson
Laramie Seymour Sullivan / Dwight BroadbeckJon Hamm
Rose SummerspringCailee Spaeny
Miles MillerLewis Pullman
Felix O'KellyNick Offerman
Auntie RuthKatharine Isabelle
Buddy SundayXavier Dolan
Vesta ShearsAlvina August
Dr Woodbury LaurenceShea Whigham
Judge Gordon HoffmanWilliam B Davis

Crew

rolename
DirectorDrew Goddard

Details

Theatrical distributor
20th Century Fox
Released on
2018-10-12
Languages
English
Guidance
Violence, swearing
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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