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.
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.
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.
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.
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.