Bad Times at the El Royale: review (spoiler free)
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What is this? A thriller? A mystery? A flashback to Forrest Gump? This film will have you just as confused as the first time you ever saw algebra while also keeping you on the edge of the seat with uncertainty.
Based around a motel (The El Royale) on the border between Nevada and California, it follows a story of four individuals; Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson), Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), Seymour “Laramie” Sullivan (Jon Hamm) And Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Eric).
The first five minutes of the film are slow and confusing, as you’re sat watching an armed, unnamed man re-arrange furniture around the room. When he lifts up the floor, he throws what seems to be a purse into the gap he’s made.
Who is he? Does he have any importance to the plot?
The individuals arriving at the motel are all escaping from different aspects of life: criminality, the law and entertainment. They begin as acquaintances, then distrust begins to spread very quickly. This leads to each character doing something drastic or horrendous, such as sabotage, assault… or worse.
So begins the worst motel experience of their life, with people being murdered and two way mirrors in every room.
Three other characters are introduced throughout the film: Miles Miller (Lewis Pullman); Rose Summerspring (Cailee Spaeny) – Emily’s sister; Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth). However, these are only given the briefest of backstories to explain who they are.
As for the plot itself, it is very confusing. It moves back and forth with time jumps and different perspectives, similar to the Game of Throne novels. Once everyone is introduced, everyone picks a room and that’s how we understand whose perspective we are seeing: the rooms uniquely represent each character in the film.
In overview, this is a good film from start to finish, even including with the slow, confusing beginning. You will be entertained.
However, you may want to bring a notepad and pen with you to help keep track of the story.
‘Tripadvisor’ Rating: 3/5