The Morning After: Oct. 29, 2018

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Bad Times at the El Royale

As the film opens, we watch a mysterious figure enter a hotel room where he proceeds to secret away a bag that we later discover contains money. This scene plays out in a single steady shot covering the entirety of the room. It’s a riveting opening and sets the pace for the film and the hopes that the same fascinating aesthetic can be re-used.

Unfortunately, it’s not, but we learn through the course of the film why that is. It makes an interesting choice, as does the rest of the film, but it’s plodding pace makes it a challenge to sit through. While there are some rather unexpected twists and turns in the film, it largely plays out exactly as you figure, a modern noir sensibility played out in the frayed narrative structure of a Quentin Tarantino film.

Director Drew Goddard helms his first film in six years. While Cabin in the Woods proved popular, it was also problematic, but in a far less interesting way. Goddard assembled a terrific cast including Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, and Lewis Pullman. However, without rich characters from which to draw inspiration, they build instead on antiquated and unoriginal tropes. Erivo is the standout, crafting something utterly enchanting from a commonplace design. Hemsworth’s American accent is at first distracting, but quickly forgotten as he takes on a role that’s more sinister than any he’s had before and it suits him.

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