A priest (Jeff Bridges), a singer (Cynthia Erivo), a vacuum cleaner salesman (Jon Hamm) and a pissed-off young woman (Dakota Johnson) walk into a hotel lobby, and they all wind up in one of those gritty, twisty, jokey crime-dramas that proliferated 20 years ago in the era of the Tarantino clones. Writer/director Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) sets his story of people with mysterious motives at a run-down resort on the California/Nevada border—as in, the border runs down the middle of the place, which hints at some of the forced gimmickry on display. The script is loaded with unexpected, even startling turns, and nearly every cast member gets at least one juicy scene—including Chris Hemsworth, who shows up late to be menacing and conspicuously shirtless. But this 141-minute tale is all sizzle and no steak, teasing at serious questions Goddard is never really interested in exploring when he can fall back on surprise gunfire. Even after 20-plus years, the Tarantino clones haven’t figured out that all the violent virtuoso flashiness works best with one hand on a real moral compass.
Director: Drew Goddard
Producer: Jeremy Latcham, Drew Goddard and Mary McLaglen
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth and Nick Offerman