Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale ★★★★

The quiet, open-ended flip-side to the hysterical directness of The Cabin in the Woods. A boundless ode to the American identity and our preoccupation with iconography. Each character is never just one thing, just as the film itself refuses to be. To that end, Drew Goddard's consistently shifting point-of-view draws our eye in, but not before letting us sit back to absorb the immaculacy of its richly detailed visual and aural landscapes. His script is one of the sharpest of the year, peeling back layer after layer as intentions are revealed, facades are erased, and humanity bleeds forth from the grime. "We are not who we are," as one of Goddard's previous characters once said. If that was but a suggestion, Bad Times at the El Royale asks us to decide if it's truly worth being who we are not. One of the most wildly original big-budget productions ever released to the general public.

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