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Published On: Sun, Dec 16th, 2018

‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ Review: Drew Goddard goes Tarantino, Cynthia Erivo delivers a great performance

A priest, a salesman and a backup singer walk into an empty motel lobby.

This isn’t a set up for a joke, but the intro for Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale, with its starry cast, stylish design and amazing cinematography. El Royale is more a Quentin Tarantino film than the recent Tarantino films.

The guests arrive to the desolate Lake Tahoe lodge in 1969 to find a David Lynch universe merged with an Agatha Christie novel.

After the death of a solitary man (Nick Offerman) the film begins against the mystery of the the man’s death. The Royale no longer attracts the high rollers and big names it once did; all that remains of its once-glittering past are the framed celebrity photos hanging on a wall. Then walks in is the setup: a salesman (Jon Hamm), a priest (Jeff Bridges) and a singer (Cynthia Erivo). Over time, these three are joined by the motel’s manager (Lewis Pullman), a hippie (Dakota Johnson) and a kidnapping victim (Cailee Spaeny). Later a Jim Jones inspired figure arrives in the form of Chris Hemsworth.

Some cast gets a lot of Goddard’s script, some don’t. The spectacular performance by Erivo, a Tony winner for The Color Purple, who offers up a couple of songs (“You Can’t Hurry Love,” “This Old Heart of Mine”) steals the show.

Hamm is quirky, Hemsworth pulls off a Charles Manson persona and Bridges goes True Grit in this film noir. El Royale gets too long, pulling in back stories, intertwining details from earlier scenes, but delivers an entertaining journey.

Some folks won’t appreciate the pay off or measure whether the wait was worth it.

Overall Bad Times at the El Royale gets 3 stars out of 5 stars

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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