the lies and deceits are more chilling than the confession itself..
Goddard’s crime drama is more Tarantino-isc than it is Polanski-ish. In its initial stages it may come off as “The Hateful Eight”, but the euphoric energy quickly wears off as the amateurly edited sub-plots interfere poorly. The sweet moments where it sweeps away the charm is when the scene is about to transition. It somehow feels obliged to gut punch the viewers everytime before doing so, and in those moments, the makers create their long lasting impact. This revealing natured script is more shady and edgy than it is disclosing. The writing is gripping since it focuses only on astoundingly high pitched dramatic sequences that is written with fluid conversations.
Now these well choreographed conversations is aware of the final vision and hence is a borderline risk throughout the course which is how Goddard keeps its thrill alive. The characteristics of each characters and the props or the set pieces, everything is utilized to its best on the narration, they hold you much more than the trick itself, since the silence that builds up to the scare is comparing more intense. The camera work is manually handled and is up close to the viewers that offers it the aspired personal touch especially when Hamm in the beginning discovers the entire structure of the hotel.
Bridges is the real deal in this snidy hotel. Not only his character has the range to fuel this entire more than two hours of journey, but his riveting performance is jaw dropping and moving at times. The lies and deceits are more chilling than the confession itself. Erivo’s performance unfortunately doesn’t justify the strength that the character is given, she seems distracted and at times amateur too. Similarly, Johnson too falls short on delivering the anticipated uncertainty that her character is brimmed with. And as much as slick and easy Hemsworth is on putting on this character and literally taking off his clothes, he fails on giving the scares to his actors and the audience.
Supporting Bridges thoroughly, is Hamm in his blatant and firm portrayal. Goddard’s core strength that was this mixture of plethora of emotions and opinionated hot heads floating around, also evolves to be its weakness by the end. The adaptive grippiness that he had achieved by ping-ponging the ball from one room to the other, makes him obliged to follow the semantics throughout the course for the sake of the closure. And it backfires vigorously since the obviousness overpowers its potential to be a compelling storyteller.
So now, when he wishes to be focused on one and only one track, the missing traffic on the other lane isn’t feasible. The ruggedness of the gunpowder, the smell of the forsaken money and the taste of the innocent blood, this essence of the early 70’s crime drama is what amps up the charge. Bad Times At The El Royale actually comes with a good time guarantee card, but if flipped and searched under the layers, you better book some other hotel.