The plot of Drew Goddard’s Bad Times At The El Royale seems complex on the surface, but when you peel back the layers (flashbacks, chapters etc) it’s a pretty basic yarn. However, it is a film where every actor brings their A-game. Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson and Jon Hamm are great (even if Hamm gets the short shrift with regards to screen-time). However, the stand-out is Cynthia Erivo as the down-on-her-luck singer. It’s a great performance, one which riffs on the career of Motown singer Darlene Love (she’s called Darlene Sweet). Chris Hemsworth also puts in appearance as the a Charles Manson-style cult leader but it’s more a showcase for his abs workout than his acting chops.
The acting is great but Bad Times At The El Royale also scores very high on a technical level. Martin Whist’s production design is glorious, Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography is beautiful and Michael Giacchino’s score is on-point. This is first-class filmmaking and it’s impressive to see money and detail spent on a movie like this.
Budgeted at $32 million, Bad Times At The El Royale grossed $17.8 million at the US box office and $31.8 million globally following its releases in 2018.