Bad Times at the El Royale

The El Royale is run-down hotel that sits on the border between California and Nevada. It soon becomes a seedy battleground when seven strangers — a cleric, a soul singer, a traveling salesman, two sisters, the manager and the mysterious Billy Lee — converge on a fateful night for one last shot at redemption before everything goes wrong.

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I went into this one with some pretty high expectations (which usually isn’t a good decision) and I left feeling pretty lukewarm about it.  Probably because I expected one thing and got something that was a bit different.  Long story short, I’m glad I waited to review this one.  I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now and it’s possibly one of my favorites of the year.  There are some issues, but overall I dig this one a lot.

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My main problem with Bad Time at the El Royale is its runtime.  At almost 2 and a half hours a lot of this movie is probably not necessary.  It just seems like it was too meticulous.  Most scenes are really painstakingly long.  I also felt that a lot of decisions made weren’t great.  I really can’t talk about them without spoiling the film, but there are definitely some choices that I felt were questionable.

bad-times-at-the-el-royale-df-13551_r_rgb_wide-0cf8e2883d24c51b78ffe4e80955adace04e9006-s800-c85   There is a lot to love here though.  Most notably Cynthia Erivo, who I thought was fantastic.  I expect to see a lot more of her in the future, she is incredibly talented.  I would also say that this film does a great job of making its setting a character itself.  Sometimes it tries a bit too hard to accomplish this though.  The atmosphere is probably my favorite part of this film.  It really encompasses the audience and sucks you into its story.  I also found a lot of the characters to be very interesting, and their personalities worked well off each other.

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The trailers for Bad Times had me pretty excited, and overall the film wasn’t as good as I was hoping.  However, I did still end up enjoying it quite a bit.  I recommend seeing it and then letting it sit in for awhile, as I’ve started to appreciate it more as time passes.   Make sure you have a lot of time though because like I said this is a really long one. I’m planning on seeing it again soon, and I’m interested to see how my opinion changes.

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3 thoughts on “Bad Times at the El Royale

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