Bad Times at the El Royale
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Straddling the state line between California and Nevada is a rundown hotel and casino with a dark past all its own. At the El Royale, nothing is what it seems – not even the guests. Over the course of a single fateful night in 1969, seven strangers – a priest (Jeff Bridges), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), a vacuum cleaner salesman (Jon Hamm), a pair of Southern sisters (Dakota Johnson, Cailee Spaeny), and even a cult leader (Chris Hemsworth) – will check in. But in this secretive neon-drenched noir, how many of them will check back out? Written and directed by Drew Goddard, Bad Times at the El Royale also stars Lewis Pullman, Manny Jacinto, and Nick Offerman. The film marks the first time Goddard has worked with star Chris Hemsworth since 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods.
- Jeff Bridges
- Cynthia Erivo
- Dakota Johnson
- Jon Hamm
- Chris Hemsworth
- Cailee Spaeny
- Lewis Pullman
- Nick Offerman
- Xavier Dolan
- Shea Whigham
Did You Know?
- Drew Goddard's process of selling the script was under heavy secrecy, only sending it to top studio execs. Potential buyers had to read it on a tablet and then return it when finished.
- It's stated early in the film the El Royale lost their gaming license a few years back. So why is the "Nevada" half of the hotel still filled with slot machines and gaming tables?
- [to Father Flynn]
- Miles Miller: This is not a place for a priest, Father. You shouldn't be here.
- Laramie Seymour Sullivan: We might need to work on your sales pitch, son. "The El Royale: no place for a priest."
Atom User Reviews
Boring wana be Tarantino film on a McDonald’s budget
I wish I better understood the stakes and motivation of the characters, but it still kept me at the edge of my seat.
Until its resolution, Bad Times is a fun-enough romp through retro genre pleasures. But when it drags in the real world in its final scenes, it reveals itself to be just as fatuous as most such nostalgic pastiches tend to be.
There’s ample amusement in the twists, betrayals and revelations that unspool. But Bad Times never really transcends the inherent limitations of its setup; it’s fun, but fleeting.
It's great to look at, nearly giddy with pop-culture love, and its particulars are intriguing. But those pieces — by turns weird, soulful and exhilarating — merely accumulate, when they should be generating magic.