Bad Times at the El Royale Make for Good Movie
Bad Times at the El Royale
Directed by Drew Goddard
Written by Drew Goddard
I’m a sucker for stylish set design and once I saw the state line dividing the El Royale into California and Nevada sections I was all in.* Add more than one creepy mystery, a cast that owns the camera** and this was an excellent night at the movies.*** It was also just a tad too long, alas.
The verdict: Good
Cost: $2.00 via Redbox (They only had a Bluray copy so it cost more.)
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
- Knives Out (This is the opposite film: a sunny and fun mystery. It might make a nice palate cleanser.)
- Game Night (Also an opposite. Hilarious mystery.)
*Have I stood with four limbs in four states at Four Corners? Why yes I have! Human-created lines of demarcation are fascinating.
**The film does a great job cycling through the motel guests’ stories. From the beginning, it seems like it’s going to be Jon Hamm’s movie, but that shifts as we see the stories of each guest.
***Don’t go in expecting a happy ending, though. Also, it would be interesting to represent in graph form Chris Hemsworth’s (Billy Lee) repelling and magnetic energy. And then segment out how much his naked torso is contributing to that magnetic energy.
- How did you feel about the ending? Did it all work out okay for you?
- Which character intrigued you the most?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
The El Royale was built from scratch on a sound stage with much of the furniture and decor being custom made (including branded matchboxes and coasters for the bar). The color scheme was meticulously set out so that the California side was mostly yellows and oranges, while the Nevada side was purples and blues. Red was reserved for the borderline, jukebox, and chandelier, while green is almost entirely absent until the end.
There was no pre-recorded soundtrack, so all of Cynthia Erivo’s singing in the film is for real. For the lengthy tracking shot scene behind the hotel mirrors, Erivo had to perform “Try a Little Tenderness” 27 times.
Cynthia Erivo can SING!
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