Short Attention Span Review - Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Dripping with nuance and a sinister vibe, equally mysterious and wild, Bad Times at the El Royale is a picture that hits a lot of familiar beats in fresh and unexpected ways. The first act is a nifty slow burn that draws you in, the second act is a dazzling descent into secret identities and desperate situations, and the third act is a sizzling eruption of violence served Grand Guignol. Crafted with nuance and wit, built upon a lethal script and masterful direction from Drew Goddard, this is a striking venture that never fails to enthrall and entertain. Goddard, who also gave us the splendid and wickedly inventive Cabin in the Woods, shows a real knack for taking cliches and standard tropes and twisting them into diabolical new shapes. However, while Cabin in the Woods was a devious kick in the pants, I found Bad Times at the El Royale to be a masterpiece that takes noir to groovy new heights while striking some truly ominous chords along the way. The performances are exceptional, with Jeff Bridges and Cynthia Erivo leading the way while everyone delivers. Jon Hamm really sets the stage in the opening reel, while Chris Hemsworth arrives closer to the finale, delivering what may have been his most challenging and richest work. Psychotic and seductive in equal measures, he is the lynchpin for this rollicking odyssey born of paranoia and intrigue, and he is the catalyst for all the groundwork that Goddard lays along the way to a powerful climax. This review may ring of hyperbole, but I can honestly say that I had high hopes for this one, and it far surpassed my expectations. I hoped for a gnarly oddity, and I got that and so much more--Bad Times at the El Royale is one of the best films I've seen in a while, and it is a credit to the efforts of everyone involved that it proves to be so mesmerizing.
Final Grade: A+
|Ladies and gentlemen, Jeff Bridges: American Treasure. If you don't love this dude, there's something wrong with you.|