Movie Poster featuring Rebecca (Margaret Qualley) and Hal (Christopher Abbott)
"Movie Poster featuring Rebecca (Margaret Qualley) and Hal (Christopher Abbott)," Sanctuary, directed by Zachary Wigon, 2023, (Neon)

Margaret Qualley presents a dictionary-worthy depiction of mind f*** that deserves notice.


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Margaret Qualley presents a dictionary-worthy depiction of mind f*** that deserves notice.

Director(s) Zachary Wigon
Screenplay By Micah Bloomberg
Date Released (In Theaters) May 19, 2023
Genre(s) Comedy, Crime, Drama
Film Length 1 Hour 36 Minutes
Content Rating Rated R
Noted Characters and Cast
Hal Christopher Abbott
Rebecca Margaret Qualley

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

Film Summary

Hal is the heir to a hotel empire that has over 100 locations and, with his father’s recent death, has made his net worth at least $185 million. But, what could bring all of the plans he has down is Rebecca. A dominatrix he has been using for who knows how long that doesn’t take her dismissal well. In fact, she is ready to do whatever it may take to get what she thinks she deserves using every trick, memory, and psychological mind game required.

Things To Note

Why Is “Sanctuary” Rated R

  • Dialog: cursing
  • Violence: Threats of murder with a knife
  • Sexual Content: hinted sounds of Hal jacking off and what could be interpreted as a rape scene due to the circumstances involved
  • Miscellaneous: drinking

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Hal

Hal is the CEO apparent to a renowned hotel chain, but his insecurities make him question if he is really ready. But, with no normal outlet to express this, he has a dominatrix personify his negative thoughts and berate him. Which, because of how twisted he is, gets him off.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Charlie Dattolo in “Girls,” Bella Baxter in “Poor Things,” Reed in “Entergalatic,” and The Foreigner in “Kraven the Hunter.”

Rebecca

Rebecca (Margaret Qualley)
“Rebecca (Margaret Qualley),” Sanctuary, directed by Zachary Wigon, 2023, (Neon)

Rebecca is a dominatrix who has studied Hal to the point she believes she has him wrapped around her finger. Hence the shock when he talks about ending their relationship and her need to secure this now very wealthy man either by blackmailing him or using every last means she is aware of to gain the type of control over his life she has had during their rendezvous.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Alex Russell in “Maid,” Pussycat in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Felicity in “Poor Things,” and Ginger Rogers in “Fred & Roger.”

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Highlights

Constantly Wondering If This Is Part of A Game or Rebecca Reasserting Control

With the setup of how their sessions go, in which Hal has a script they follow, as things escalate between Hal and Rebecca, you question if this is but another script or real? Hal likes being submissive, pushed to the edge, seemingly with his father involved, so if this is to be the final time, is Rebecca tasked to make it epic?

Is the threat of blackmail a new level of spice, Rebecca being allowed to go off script, hence her need to walk away and have a quiet moment? The further Rebecca goes, the more effort Hal makes to wrestle back control of the situation, and it leaves you amazed at how your ego may lead you to believe you know what’s going on. But, in reality, you’re no better than Hal in thinking you know what is happening and that Rebecca has no real surprises to offer.

This is where Qualley shines, as she uses her charm to disarm you and leave you questioning, guessing, and enchanted by her every move. Is that smile you see part of her knowing she is back in control? Is it her wild dancing, gaslighting, and more all about trying to throw you off? Rebecca’s madness both has the potential to play down her abilities yet also lead you to believe she isn’t one to be underestimated.

On The Fence

Sometimes Feelings The Movie Overstays Its Welcome

Each time Rebecca either goes back to the hotel room, or Hal stops her from leaving, it feels like a soft reset. Now, yes, it does lead to escalation, but at times you may wish you had a sense of how much time is left for the constant loops can get old.

Hal being put in what seems to be another session, Rebecca seeking new ways to deepen her connection and hold over Hal, it makes you want something major to happen. Something beyond awkward and uncomfortable sex scenes or Hal throwing things. For while the escalation will surely keep some hooked, for others? It can feel like “Sanctuary” is an interesting premise, worthy of a forty to hour-long short, embellished into a feature-length film.

[ninja_tables id=”46802″]

Movie Poster featuring Rebecca (Margaret Qualley) and Hal (Christopher Abbott)
Sanctuary (2023) – Movie Review and Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Sanctuary” is the kind of film that can potentially feel like it overstays its welcome depending on how you feel about the back and forth between its leads.
Highlights
Constantly Wondering If This Is Part of A Game or Rebecca Reasserting Control
Disputable
Sometimes Feelings The Movie Overstays Its Welcome
80

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