Starring: Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Mystery thriller film directed and written by Drew Goddard. The story is set in the 1960s and centers on seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at a run-down hotel in Lake Tahoe, El Royale. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption, before everything goes to hell.
A young concierge (Lewis Pullman) greets the strangers: a down-on-his-luck priest, Father Daniel Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a singer, Darlene Sweet (Cynthia Erivo), a criminal, Emily Summerspring (Dakota Johnson), and her an impressionable younger sister (Cailee Spaeny), a vacuum cleaner salesman, Laramie Seymour Sullivan (Jon Hamm), and a charismatic cult leader, Billy Lee (Chris Hemsworth).
Best Quotes (Total Quotes: 34)
[first lines; arriving at the hotel]
Darlene Sweet: Are you lost, Father?
Dock O’Kelly: Sorry?
Darlene Sweet: Are you lost?
Dock O’Kelly: No. I suppose not.
[looking down at the bi-state line painted on the ground]
Dock O’Kelly: According to this, I am in Nevada.
Darlene Sweet: I’ve never been to Nevada before. What’s it like?
Dock O’Kelly: Oh, it’s not bad. What’s California like these days?
Darlene Sweet: Well, still sunny.
[to Dock and Darlene]
Dwight Broadbeck: Your first time at the El Royale? Ooh. Well, it wasn’t always like this. And I don’t just mean you could find a clerk come check-in time. No, no, no. This place used to be hustling and bustling. Tahoe’s best-kept secret. I mean it was always a bit of a novelty, yeah, sure, of course. But there’s state fair novelty, and then there’s old horse novelty. And I believe we are firmly in the old horse variety. Yes, sir. 1966, this place had swing. Hell, I don’t even think I could get a room here in the main lodge if I tried. It was a hidey-hole for the Tahoe swells, you know? Old Dean Martin even sang a song about it. “Half in California with Judy.”
Dwight Broadbeck: I always wanted to stay in the honeymoon suite, although I’m not currently on my honeymoon.
Miles Miller: What are you doing here, Father?
Dock O’Kelly: Do I know you, son?
Miles Miller: No. But, I mean, this is not a place for a priest, Father. You shouldn’t be here.
Dwight Broadbeck: We might need to work on your sales pitch, son. “The El Royale, no place for a priest.”
Miles Miller: There are other hotels, Father. Maybe closer to Tahoe. I could help you find one. I’m sure you would be happier there.
Dock O’Kelly: Miles, is it?
Miles Miller: Mm-hmm.
Dock O’Kelly: If this is not a place for a priest, Miles, then this is exactly where the Lord wants me.
Dwight Broadbeck: Well, the Lord don’t want you in the honeymoon suite. I can promise you that. Miles, those are my accoutrement there and I stake my claim as such. But you can go ahead and check them in first. I don’t mind.
Dock O’Kelly: It’s alright, son.
Miles Miller: The El Royale is a bi-state establishment. You have the option to stay in either the great state of California or the great state of Nevada. Warmth and sunshine to the west, or hope and opportunity to the east. Which would you prefer?
Dock O’Kelly: What’s the difference?
Miles Miller: Between California and Nevada?
Dock O’Kelly: Between the rooms.
Miles Miller: Well, for starters, rooms in California cost a dollar more.
Dwight Broadbeck: Really? When did that happen? What makes them a dollar better?
Miles Miller: They’re in California.
Dwight Broadbeck: And that’s worth a dollar?
Miles Miller: Some people think so.
[calling from a payphone]
Dwight Broadbeck: Director Hoover, it’s Special Agent Broadbeck. I’m here on site at the El Royale. Sir, we have a problem.
Dock O’Kelly: So, what are you doing out here?
Darlene Sweet: Oh, I live in Bakersfield now, but I got a job singing in Reno tomorrow.
Dock O’Kelly: Oh, that’s exciting.
Darlene Sweet: That’s not exactly the word I’d use to describe a six o’clock shift at the Keno lounge. But, it’s a job.
Dock O’Kelly: Why are you staying here?
Darlene Sweet: It’s not a good job. Don’t pay nothing, but if I stay in Reno proper, I’d be in the hole. Outskirts are cheaper.
Dock O’Kelly: Ah. Why do it at all?
Darlene Sweet: You know, I ask myself the same question sometimes. Singing’s singing.
Darlene Sweet: How did you end up at the El Royale?
Dock O’Kelly: I was visiting my brother in Oakland, and, uh, I had to get off the road before dark. Well, my eyes, they’re no good at night. And the Ritz-Carlton was booked, so here we are.
[to Rose; referring to Billy]
Emily Summerspring: We have to get as far away from him as possible. He’s all kinds of bad.
[through the door]
Emily Summerspring: What do you want?
Dwight Broadbeck: Oh. Ma’am, yeah. It’s Laramie Sullivan. We met in the hotel lobby there earlier. Would you mind opening the door?
Emily Summerspring: No, I ain’t going to do that.
Dwight Broadbeck: Well, I certainly understand that, yes. It’s good to be cautious. We can talk through the door, if you like.
Emily Summerspring: What do you want?
Dwight Broadbeck: Oh, well, ma’am, the storm’s just wrecking all kinds of hell on the hotel. People are having complaints about losing power and such, and so the boy up front had asked me to come around check on some of the women and make sure they’re safe.
Emily Summerspring: I’m fine.
Dwight Broadbeck: Well, that’s good to hear. That’s good to hear. Listen, if you wouldn’t mind…
Emily Summerspring: Fuck off.
Dwight Broadbeck: I’m very sorry to have spooked you, ma’am. You have a safe night.
[finding Dock on the floor looking hurt]
Miles Miller: Father Flynn. Hey, don’t try to move, Father.
Dock O’Kelly: I’m not your father.
Miles Miller: Father, do you know where you are?
Dock O’Kelly: What happened?
Miles Miller: That’s what I’m asking you. I just found you like this, on the floor. You got glass in your head.
Dock O’Kelly: Where…? Was I alone?
Miles Miller: Yeah. Why? Was you with somebody?
Dock O’Kelly: No. No. Kid, what’s your name again?
Miles Miller: Miles.
Dock O’Kelly: Miles, I need a drink. Fix me a drink.
Miles Miller: Oh, I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.
Dock O’Kelly: Just one drink to clear my head. I’d get it myself, but look what happens. Miles, I fell down. I’m old. Shit happens. Get the whiskey.
Miles Miller: Father, I was hoping, well I was hoping I could ask for your help. I’ve been gone, gone from the church for a while now, but I was devout my whole life. Baptized, confirmed, never missed a Sunday until I left Indiana.
Dock O’Kelly: I was born in Indiana.
Miles Miller: Really? No kidding? Whereabouts?
[Dock doesn’t reply]
Miles Miller: Okay. Father, I was hoping, see, I got things I need to confess.
Dock O’Kelly: Not now, kid.
Miles Miller: Okay, Father. Right. Of course. It’s just, I’m penitent, Father. I promise I’m penitent. And I’m afraid for my soul. I’ve done horrible things.
Dock O’Kelly: So? So has everybody. You’ll be fine.
Miles Miller: I told you this wasn’t a good place, Father.
[Miles takes Dock to the hotel’s e secret passageway]
Dock O’Kelly: You watched me? What did you see?
Miles Miller: I didn’t see nothing! I didn’t. I didn’t. I only watch who they tell me to watch.
Dock O’Kelly: Who’s they?
Miles Miller: Management. I get a call, “So and so is checking in, set up the camera.” It hasn’t happened much since the election. Mostly they just want, you know, people screwing.
Dock O’Kelly: What do you do with the film?
Miles Miller: Develop it in one of the back cabins and mail it to management. P.O. box in Pennsylvania.
Dock O’Kelly: Do you ever keep any of the film?
[Miles doesn’t reply]
Dock O’Kelly: Do you ever keep any of it? Miles?
Miles Miller: Last year, the big celebration, a man stayed with us. He was a big deal, you would know him. Management wanted him. They really wanted him. But he was kind to me. Nobody’s ever kind to me, so I told them there wasn’t no woman in his room.
Dock O’Kelly: So you kept it, the film?
Miles Miller: Father, this ain’t even what I was trying to confess. I’ve done so much worse than this.
[Darlene points the gun at Dock as he knocks on the car window]
Dock O’Kelly: I just want to talk. Roll down the window.
[Darlene rolls down the car window]
Dock O’Kelly: I just want to talk. Can I get in?
Darlene Sweet: I will shoot you in the face, believe me.
Dock O’Kelly: I believe you.
[Dock gets in the car and sits beside her]
Dock O’Kelly: Well, we’re in a bit of a pickle here. I’m sorry that I tried to drug you back there in the lobby. I wasn’t trying to diddle you, or nothing like that, I just needed to break into your room, and I didn’t want to hurt you. Any more than need be, I mean. No hard feelings about bashing me in the head is what I’m saying.
[referring to Emily and Rose]
Dock O’Kelly: I’m pretty sure those girls killed a cop of some sort.
Darlene Sweet: They did.
Dock O’Kelly: You saw it?
Darlene Sweet: Yeah.
[referring to the gun she’s pointing at him]
Dock O’Kelly: That his gun?
Darlene Sweet: Mm-hmm.
Dock O’Kelly: This is not so good for us. I’m not really a priest.
Darlene Sweet: Yeah, no shit.
Dock O’Kelly: So I think there’s a bunch of money buried in your room, Darlene, and I need your help to get it.
Darlene Sweet: You expect me to believe all that?
Dock O’Kelly: Well, it’s the truth. Yeah, it’s the truth, so there is that. But, no, no, I get it. How did you know I wasn’t on the up and up in the first place?
Darlene Sweet: You spend your life getting shook, you learn how to spot a shaker.
Dock O’Kelly: Is that from a song?
Darlene Sweet: No.
Dock O’Kelly: If you’d have been wrong you’d have bashed a priest in the face for no reason.
Darlene Sweet: I would’ve found a way to forgive myself.
Dock O’Kelly: Yeah, I guess I’d have done the same thing in your situation.
Emily Summerspring: So, what is this? Some kind of pervert hotel?
[Miles doesn’t reply]
Emily Summerspring: Hey!
Miles Miller: No. Yes. I don’t know. You just shot me in the face.
Emily Summerspring: Well, now, let’s be clear. I shot another man, who had it coming, and you just happened to be back there being creepy, and you caught a face full of buckshot for your trouble.
Emily Summerspring: You got glass in your head.
Miles Miller: How does it look?
Emily Summerspring: To be honest, I don’t remember what you looked like before this, but I think you should make peace with the fact that things have changed.
Miles Miller: Are you going to kill me?
Emily Summerspring: How can I not after what you’ve seen?
Miles Miller: I’ve seen worse, and I ain’t said a thing.
Emily Summerspring: You’ve seen worse than a man getting sawn in half with a shotgun?
Miles Miller: I’ve seen all sorts of bad. I’ve seen a senator beat up a whore so bad she had to shove her own stockings back where her teeth used to be, just to keep from bleeding out through the mouth. I saw a junkie paint “sorry” on the wall in his own filth. Like that’d make it easier when I cleaned all that shit off his cold body. I saw a man lay with a wolf once. Guy drags a full-grown feral wolf on a choke chain into his room, ties it up to the bed, and takes off all his clothes, climbs into bed beside it, and holds the thing, all night. It wasn’t sexual, but it wasn’t not sexual either. The guy just laid there crying, saying, “Help me,” while he held that wolf, all night. I never told nobody about none of that.
Emily Summerspring: Oh. I ain’t so sure you should’ve told me that. You don’t have to kill me.
Miles Miller: What could I even say about you, anyway? “Some girls shot some guy who was going to shoot them?” I don’t even know your names.
Miles Miller: Please, I’ll do whatever you want. Just let me talk to the priest when you find him. Just let me talk to him before you kill me.
Rose Summerspring: I’ve been trying to tell him that we might not have to kill him, but it’s not up to us.
Emily Summerspring: Who’s it up to, Rose?
[Rose doesn’t reply]
Emily Summerspring: Rose, what did you do?
[to his cult followers]
Billy Lee: What does God mean to you? What does God mean to all of you? Is He some being in the sky? Do you pray to Him at night? Do you ask Him to watch over you? Is He here with us now? Or maybe there is no God, huh? Maybe it’s all lies. Listen, I ain’t saying I got it all figured out, I’m not, but I do see the game. They define right and wrong, and then they make you choose. And that’s how it all starts, with a simple choice. Which side are you on? Up, down? Good, evil? Right, wrong? God or no God? It’s simple, just pick.
[to his cult followers]
Billy Lee: So, what have we learned, huh? Maybe we won’t play their games no more. Maybe we won’t listen to their lies. Maybe the only truth in this world is right here. And here. And here, and here, and here, and here. Just us. And maybe for tonight we get to be our own Gods.
Billy Lee: You know, you left without saying goodbye. What, did you think, I wouldn’t take offense?
Emily Summerspring: No, I figured you would, but I’d be ready when you did.
Billy Lee: You don’t look ready.
Emily Summerspring: You caught me on a bad night.
Billy Lee: So, uh, Miles, what is this? Some sort of pervert hotel?
Dock O’Kelly: The kid can’t answer you. You tied his mouth shut.
Billy Lee: Well, why don’t I ask you then, huh? Why don’t I ask the priest who was walking out of the hotel with a bag full of money?
Dock O’Kelly: Alright. Yeah. I think it’s some sort of pervert hotel. The kid told me, he films people doing whatnot, and sends it to his bosses.
Billy Lee: Who are his bosses?
Dock O’Kelly: People who own the hotel. I don’t know. Does it really matter?
Billy Lee: Maybe. And what, he just offered this up to you, did he?
Dock O’Kelly: I think he was trying to confess.
Billy Lee: Oh.
Dock O’Kelly: I think it’s been weighing on him. I think he’s trying to confess right now, because he knows how this is going to go, and he fears for his soul.
Billy Lee: Hey, buddy. Um, listen, if you’re so worried about your soul, maybe you shouldn’t have been doing all this bad shit in the first place.
Billy Lee: You know, I forgot to mention, I hate priests. You want to change your story?
Dock O’Kelly: Nope.
Billy Lee: Alrighty then.
Billy Lee: It’s too quiet in here, don’t you think? Huh? It gives me the willies.
Billy Lee: Emily, pick a color. Red or black?
Emily Summerspring: No.
Billy Lee: Did you think you could just take what’s mine, and I wouldn’t come a hunting?
Emily Summerspring: She ain’t yours.
Billy Lee: Rosie, are you mine?
Rose Summerspring: Of course.
Billy Lee: Of course.
[referring to the incriminating film]
Darlene Sweet: Let me guess. It’s some man, who talks a lot. He talks so much that he thinks he believes in something. And really just wants to fuck who he wants to fuck. I’ve seen it enough. I’m not even mad about it anymore. I’m just tired. I’m just bored of men like you. You think I don’t see you for who you really are? A fragile little man, preying on the weak and lost.
Billy Lee: Yeah, well, if…
Darlene Sweet: I’ve heard it, and I don’t care. I’d rather sit here and listen to the rain.
Billy Lee: Why didn’t you just leave when you had the film? It’s worth way more than some bag of money.
Dock O’Kelly: I did time for that money. My brother, he died for that money. That money’s mine.
Darlene Sweet: That money’s ours.
Dock O’Kelly: That money’s ours.
[as Billy is trying to kill them]
Miles Miller: No, I can’t do it. I can’t do it no more. I can’t. I can’t do it.
Darlene Sweet: Miles.
Miles Miller: I can’t kill no more people.
Darlene Sweet: Miles! Help us.
Miles Miller: I can’t kill no more people.
Darlene Sweet: How many people have you killed, Miles?
Miles Miller: A hundred and twenty-three.
[to Miles, as he’s pointing a gun at him]
Billy Lee: Easy there, altar boy…
[Miles shoots him in the head]
[after he’s mortally wounded by Billy]
Dock O’Kelly: Confess. My son, confess.
Miles Miller: You’re not a… You’re not a priest.
Dock O’Kelly: Of course I am. Miles Miller, my name is Father Daniel Flynn, and I’m here to absolve you of your sins.
Miles Miller: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
Dock O’Kelly: Yes.
Miles Miller: I’ve sinned. I’ve sinned more times than I can count. I’ve killed. I’ve killed so many people. I’m so sorry, Father.
Dock O’Kelly: It’s alright.
Miles Miller: No, it’s not. I did so much bad. I lied. I stole. I hurt people. I did it all even though I know it was wrong. I’m so sorry, Father.
Dock O’Kelly: Do you seek absolution for your sins?
Miles Miller: Yes, I do.
Dock O’Kelly: Do you give yourself to the mercy of the Lord?
Miles Miller: Yes.
Dock O’Kelly: Will you give to Him the time that you have left?
Miles Miller: I’m too late.
Dock O’Kelly: No. It’s never too late.
Miles Miller: Yes. I will try. I’ll try to be better. I’ll try to be a better man. I repent. Father Flynn, I repent.
Dock O’Kelly: You are forgiven. Miles Miller, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, you are forgiven.
Total Quotes: 34
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