Review: “Bad Times at the El Royale” One of The Best Films Of The Year

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“Bad Times at the El Royale” is the latest film from Drew Goddard. Much like his 2012 horror gem “The Cabin in the Woods,” this homage to the murder mystery films of the 1960s is a stylish and subversive entry in the genre that is easily one of the best movies of the year.

The story takes place in the year 1969. On the border of California and Nevada, the seedy “El Royale” hotel is home to many dark secrets. As a cadre of colorful characters with checkered pasts check in to the hotel, the film sets up a mystery that will keep you guessing till the very end. The 141-minute runtime is a slow burn that lights up the powder keg of its talented cast in an explosive finale that has to be seen to be believed.

On a $32 million budget, the film has fantastic attention to detail in its period setting. The music has a great selection of 1960s pop tunes as well as a slick score from Michael Giacchino. The story also makes effective use of the year it was set to explore how the issues of the past can lend perspective to challenges people are facing in the present.

In a time where the classic style of murder mystery is increasingly rare, “Bad Times at the El Royale” easily proves to be a great homage to a bygone era in the best way possible. It’s not just a great take on the old-fashioned “whodunnits” of yesteryear: it’s definitely one of the best films of the year overall.

Verdict: 5 stars out of 5

At a Glance:

Starring Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Evio, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman and Chris Hemsworth
Written and Directed by Drew Goddard
Rated R

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