Bad Times at the El Royale reviews: What are critics saying about the thriller?

October 12, 2018
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Bad Times at the El Royale is a neon-soaked action thriller with an A-list cast.

The movie, set for release today October 12, is about seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, who meet at the run-down El Royale hotel on the border between California and Nevada.

The strangers consist of a cleric, a soul singer, a travelling salesman, two sisters, the manager and the mysterious Billy Lee.

Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption – before everything goes to hell.”

Here’s what critics had to say about Bad Times at the El Royale.

The movie holds a 75 percent approval rating on reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

The audience score is marginally better, at 79 percent.

Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly called it “a riot of plot points and famous faces run bloodily amok.”

Greenblatt gave special kudos to Cynthia Erivo, and said: “Her steely charisma and gorgeous powerhouse of a voice (Goddard takes every plausible opportunity to let her loose on a classic 1960s songbook; can you blame him?) is what gives the movie not just a different kind of heroine, but a heart. “

For AV Club, Katie Rife gave it B, and wrote: “An early segment re-telling the same plot point from several different perspectives cleverly combines character development and game-changing plot revelations, an impressive display of screenwriting prowess.”

But she also criticised the movie, adding: “The introduction of new players late in the film raises questions of whether Goddard might have taken a sharp left turn because he didn’t know how to end the existing story.”

Rife also praised Erivo’s performance: “Thank goodness we have Erivo’s Darlene, a real person in a film populated by quippy characters, whose a cappella performances of ’60s R&B hits secure her place as the emotional centre of the film”

Sheri Linden of The Hollywood Reporter was not wowed.

She wrote: “More of a slog than it has any right to be, the artifice turned up so high that it overwhelms the story instead of igniting it.”

Likewise, Peter Debruge wrote for Variety: “Bad times is not very good.”

Giving it 3/4 stars, Washington Post writer Michael O’Sullivan said: “Part B-movie sendup, part noirish hybrid of mystery and black comedy, and all original.”

However, Mara Reinstein at US Weekly was not so enamoured and said: “The film is clearly aiming for a funky, hyper-violent, multi-layered Pulp Fiction vibe. But it’s missing an adrenaline shot to the heart.”

Hugh Armitage at Digital Spy gave it 4/5 stars, as did Jamie East at The Sun and Kevin Maher at The Times.

Maher called it a “fabulously self-conscious thriller” and praised Jeff Bridges for his ‘last rites’ scene

Maher said: “Delivered deadpan, it’s moving and provides a delicate note of truth just when it’s needed most.”

Bad Times at the El Royale is in cinemas now.



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