Finally, last night, I watched Bad Times at the El Royale. Back when I first saw the trailer, I thought it was an Evans movie for sure, but it ended up playing at the multiplex down the street instead, for all of two weeks. I managed to miss it. Now I regret not seeing it on the big screen.
El Royale takes place at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, on the border between Nevada and California. The border literally bisects the hotel. Rooms on the California side are $1 more per night.
The movie opens with a priest, a singer, and a vacuum-cleaner salesman trying to check in, one lovely afternoon in 1969, but the clerk is nowhere to be found. Once they do track him down, a fourth guest appears, and she’s got some baggage. Well, they all have baggage, but the fourth woman appears to have kidnapped someone.
Of course, this is a noir-ish thriller, and no one—not even the venue—is who they seem to be.
I quite enjoyed El Royale. It felt a lot like a Quentin Tarantino movie, but it was written and directed by Drew Goddard. Goddard managed to take all the good things about a QT movie—colours, music, sudden violent twists—and discard the endless soliloquies. It really makes for a tight, nasty thriller, and it’s just the thing I was looking for.
If you like violence, secrets, thunderstorms, ’60s music, and violence, it might be just what you’re looking for too.
Header image from The Movie DB.