Check in to the El Royale for an un­for­get­table thriller

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page -

Ev­ery few years, there’s a thriller that grabs the pub­lic imag­i­na­tion by the col­lar and de­mands at­ten­tion. From clas­sics like Psy­cho and Theshin­ing to more re­cent films such as In­cep­tion and Black­swan, they be­come the num­ber-one sub­ject to talk about, whether you’re at a bar­be­cue or in the of­fice kitchen; miss the lat­est and you’ll be left chat­ting to the cheese plat­ter at your next din­ner party.

This year, Bad­time­sattheel­royale– an ex­hil­a­rat­ing ride with a cap­ti­vat­ing cast of char­ac­ters – is bound to be that must-see thriller. The ac­tion re­volves around seven strangers, each with a se­cret they’d like to keep buried, who meet in the El Royale – a run­down ho­tel on the Ne­vada- Cal­i­for­nia bor­der that has its own dark past. Over the course of one fate­ful night, each of the guests will have a shot at redemp­tion, be­fore ev­ery­thing goes to hell.

The film fea­tures an in­cred­i­ble A-list ensem­ble, in­clud­ing Jeff Bridges as a priest who moon­lights as a bank rob­ber (or vice versa), Chris Hemsworth as a charis­matic-but-crazed cult leader (is there any other kind?) and Jon Hamm as a vac­uum sales­man, if you take “Laramie Sey­mour Sul­li­van” at his word – but this is a film full of sur­prises where no­body is who they seem.

Other big names in the cast are Dakota John­son, from Fiftyshades of­grey, and Cyn­thia Erivo, who won a Tony Award for her role in The­colour Pur­ple. She makes her sil­ver screen de­but as Dar­lene Sweet, a soul singer who stops at the El Royale en route to a gig in Reno. Well, that was her plan.

Bad­time­sattheel­royale was writ­ten and di­rected by Drew God­dard, who re­vi­talised the hor­ror genre with his crit­i­cally ac­claimed first film, Acab­ininthe­woods (which also starred a shirt­less Chris Hemsworth). This time around he has put a fresh spin on noir clas­sics to cre­ate a stylish and thrilling piece of cinema.

While the film’s pro­duc­tion was shrouded in se­crecy to pre­vent spoil­ers be­ing re­vealed, there’s one thing you can be sure of – you’ll be on the edge of your seat till the cred­its roll.

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