Review – Bad Times At The El Royale
Directed by: Drew Goddard
Written by: Drew Goddard
Produced by: Drew Goddard & Jeremy Latcham
Release Date: October 12th 2018 (UK)
I re-watched Bad Times At The El Royale for review last night and it was a blast to revisit. I would even go as far as to say that this film is a often forgotten about modern classic. I am not sure why the movie never received the widespread praise and success that it deserved, but at the very least, Bad Times is undoubtedly a future cult classic.
In this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to go into a movie without already knowing a bunch of information about it beforehand. Somehow Bad Times At The El Royale managed that back when it released back in 2018. I can still remember the luxury of going into this film with very little knowledge about what was going to unfold.
I have a great time with this movie. I love the entire cast in this film, Jeff Bridges and Jon Hamm are among my favourite actors working in Hollywood and I love to see Chris Hemsworth doing a fantastic job playing the villain for a change. The rest of the cast are fantastic too.
As an aside, Cynthia Erivo’s voice still completely blows me away every time I watch the movie, even though I have seen it before. I know that she has done some Broadway shows in the past, but she sounds utterly incredible in this film and I love the way that her singing is organically tied in with the plot.
Bad Times is written and directed by Drew Goddard, who was also behind Cabin In The Woods and there are some similarities here, if you were to swap the horror elements out for mystery. I have also seen multiple reviews over the years comparing Bad Times to a Tarantino movie. There are obviously similarities in the structure that this film uses and the out-of-chronological-order structure that a Tarantino movie tends to follow, but I’d argue that Bad Times has its own distinct and unique style.
I also think that the cinematography is very effective throughout the film. The opening scene is particularly well shot, as is the scene when Hemsworth’s character is introduced. The score also works well with the plot and the dialogue in the script is well written too.
The main negative that slightly hinders my enjoyment of the movie, are the decisions made regarding the pacing. The movie is split up so that we see things happen out of sequence or they are seen more than once from a different perspective. We are introduced to each new character and then we are given their backstory via a flashback. The main issue with this structure is that the flashbacks break the momentum of the events happening in the current story.
Without spoiling too much, towards the end of the movie, everything comes to a head and an intense fight/shootout breaks out. Then, for some unknown reason, the filmmakers decide to slam on the brakes and give us another arbitrary flashback. It slightly breaks your immersion as a viewer and tarnishes the intensity of the shootout sequence for me.
Overall, I had a good time re-watching Bad Times for review. If you are looking for an exciting, suspenseful thriller, then you could definitely do worse than spending a night at The El Royale.
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