Bad Times at the El Royale ★★★½

As much as I want to love this movie, I can't help but think about its shortcomings. I greatly value the fact that it's an original story from a very talented director, but much of this feels like a missed opportunity.

The ensemble, the pacing, and the tangibility is oftentimes quite disjointed. Some actors put in incredible work (the always-good Jeff Bridges, and the wonderful newcomer Cynthia Erivo), while others (Chris Hemsworth) are just plain bad.

The film is way too long, and actually loses significant momentum as is rounds into its final act. The drawn-out dialogue sequences are not as engaging as they are in a Tarantino film, but there are instances when the sprawling flashback-laden narrative perfectly clicks.

There are a couple of moments of poor editing, action staging, and gore make-up, but not enough to truly ruin the film. Just enough to slightly take you out of it.

Now, I did adore pretty much all the cinematography: gorgeous vibrant blues, oranges, reds, and purples. They clearly took the time and effort to make the film look great, it's just a shame that the script wasn't tighter. I would have loved to see a version of this that gets super weird, twisted, and perhaps supernatural. Instead we're left with something that doesn't feel quite fully-formed.

Also, I really wish Jon Hamm had more screentime. He's a national treasure.

Ernest liked this review