BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (MA15+) A night that goes forever and a stay US, 142 min
Alternately intriguing and infuriating, this hardboiled mystery-noir affair is not here for a good time. It is here for a long time, taking a big, fat two-hours-twenty to flatten all possible wrinkles from a thin, papery premise. The year is 1969 at an out-of-the-way hotel sitting smack-bang on the Nevada-California border. A handful of freaky guests are checking in for the night. One of them will be unwittingly staying in a room where a huge whack of stolen cash is stashed under the floorboards. Another will be scheming to access the suite and get their paws on that sweet dough. Think of it as a lottery with a death sentence for those who don’t win. Among the contestants are a travelling salesman (Jon Hamm), a priest (Jeff Bridges), a soul singer (Cynthia Erivo) and a tough-talking femme (Dakota Johnson). They’ll later be joined by a Charles Manson-ish cult leader (a scenestealing Chris Hemsworth) to force a clear result and a final body count. Be very patient, and a flamboyantly strange finale might still pay its way.