Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale ★★★★

Review In A Nutshell:

Buried secrets, deep deceptions, lingering trauma, lost innocence, cunning exploitation, senseless violence, and heightened paranoia. Bad Times at the El Royale follows the encounter of multiple individuals who have checked into it’s titular hotel, a place that exists between the California and Nevada state line, where we find things are not what they clearly appear to be. As characters, histories, and circumstances begin to be investigated and deconstructed, writer-director Drew Goddard starts to reveal to us the fiery, corrupted, and traumatic essence of 1970s America, wrapped in high genre dynamics and nostalgic presentation, leaving forth a narrative that is both entertaining and engaging as it moves along. Characters are as colourful as the personality that Goddard brings to his filmmaking, leaving almost nil stone, or character, unturned. El Royale is a film that knows how to attract and sway it’s audience with it’s aesthetics, only to find oneself disillusioned once stepped inside. It knows what it is and it delivers more than one would expect. However, with a running time of 141 minutes and Goddard’s indulgent construction, it is a film that may have exceeded far beyond it’s grasp, with a self-seriousness and/or directness in it’s thematic emphasis that disrupts the potential of an even narrative flow, and the effect of delivering it’s genre thrills feel somewhat dampened. Yet, with such issues plaguing throughout the entire running time, there is so much to absorb and admire in El Royale, an Americana playground that reflects the painful truths that are often locked behind closed doors.

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