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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Bad Times at the El Royale to Open Rome Film Festival

The new mystery thriller, Bad Times at the El Royal, featuring Jeff Bridges (Academy Award winner for Best Actor), Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Jon Hamm (Mad Men) will open the Rome Film Festival. The 13th edition of the Italian fest will begin with a gala event with the cast expected to be in attendance. I was fortunate to be at an earlier screening of the film in Hollywood and found it immensely entertaining, with every twist and turn a complete surprise.

Cabin in the WoodsAnd Then There Were NonWritten and directed by Drew Goddard (e. A very, very dark version that revolves around seven strangers who meet over the course of one night at a hotel (the El Royal) on the California/Nevada border in Lake Tahoe. The place is an outdated, once stylish destination retreat that has not been kept up in the lush manner in which it once reigned magnificently. Each character is similarly at a point in their life where dark secrets from the past have tarnished the facade of their form self. ), Royal is a stylistic thriller much like a very dark version of Agatha Christie's . However, each character will get a shot at redemption before the conclusion.

Bad Times at the El Royale is Goddard’s second feature after 2012’s The Cabin in the Woods. He started his career as a writer in television before penning Cloverfield and The Martian, which earned him an Oscar nomination. He also is the creator of the Netflix series Daredevil. The young helmsman will next direct X-Force, the mutant superhero film with Ryan Reynolds returning as Deadpool, Josh Brolin as Cable and Zazie Beetz as Domino. With such a cast repeating their well-established roles, its no doubt Goddard will have another winning project on his hands. And then it will be interesting to see what he does next to maintain the reputation built by his earlier successes.

According to festival director Antonio Monda, "Bad Times at the El Royale is a sophisticated, intelligent, ironic, surprising and elegant film.” Monda continued about his opening-night choice remarking, “Within the great tradition of the noir, Drew Goddard magnificently directs a splendid cast, reveling in the revelation of the protagonists’ secrets, but above all granting us the pleasure of true cinema." Words of high praise, indeed. Not bad for a young director with just five films under his belt.

The full lineup for the thirteenth annual Rome Film Fest, which is set to run October 18-28, will be announced Friday.

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