Bad Times at the El Royale


Bad Times at the El Royale is like having all the ingredients for a fantastic meal but, due to laziness and a lack of imagination, resorting to a microwave dinner instead.

The film sets up an interesting premise of a shadowy government organization that spies on hotel patrons, and an undercover agent sent to terminate said operation because of something that went horribly wrong…

And then subsequently abandons this idea and unceremoniously kills off Agent Dwight Broadbeck (Jon Hamm) without any sense of closure.

None of the characters here are remotely interesting, and the flashback insights into their lives don’t serve to illuminate them or elicit any sort of emotional connection. I still have no idea why Emily (Dakota Johnson) or Rose (Cailee Spaeny) joined a cult, or why Rose randomly killed some people.

There is a disgusting amount of superfluous singing from Darlene (Cynthia Erivo) in this film. Every single scene with her belting away was torturous and unnecessary. The songs are garbage, her singing is average, and I wanted to watch a movie not American Idol. I was on the verge of muting the film when she started singing towards the end.

The worst part of Bad Times at the El Royale is that all of these mundane characters and their uninteresting stories don’t tie together in any meaningful or satisfying way. I kept waiting for the payoff, but what I got was some ambiguous message about faith and redemption.

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