Margaret Qualley’s Sanctuary (2023) Movie Review

Micah Bloomberg‘s 2007 one-act play “Sanctuary” served as the inspiration for the film’s screenplay. The complex relationship between Rebecca (played by Margaret Qualley) and Hal (played by Christopher Abbott) is examined in the “Sanctuary” film, a black comedy-thriller that delves into themes of abuse of power. The film spans the course of one night and muddles the lines between acting and truth. Rebecca is demanding and dominant, while Hal is wealthy and obedient, so the spectator is never sure who is in charge. Rebecca and Hal’s sudden and unexpected romance is a plot twist toward the film’s conclusion. Given the shifting and nuanced nature of the individuals’ relationships, this happy conclusion is a welcome surprise.

The protagonist of “Sanctuary” is Hal Porterfield, the heir to a hotel empire who gets tricked by an odd worker. The film creates a theater of the absurd by mixing reality and performance. The primary actress, Margaret Qualley, wears a wig that adds to the mystery of whether or not the events in the film are staged. Qualley’s Rebecca is a consultant who pretends to interview Hal for the CEO role. Their encounters, however, turn out to be part of a roleplay scenario, and she is revealed to be a professional dominatrix. Rebecca intends to make Hal feel aroused and satisfied while keeping the dominant-submissive power dynamic in place.

When Rebecca deviates from the norm and pushes Hal to his limits, the story takes an unexpected turn. She continues to force him to the point of humiliation by assigning him more and more menial jobs. Rebecca disregards their agreements and continues to assert her power, despite Hal’s concerns. Hal eventually fires Rebecca to protect his image as the company’s future CEO, and that’s the end of their working relationship.

The plot then shifts to a new sanctuary, where Rebecca plays the role of the antagonist by trying to maintain their working relationship. This time, she uses extortion to get what she wants from Hal by threatening to reveal their past relationships if he doesn’t comply with her demands. As they engage in a mental war of wills, the power balances between the characters shift. As the film progresses, the audience is left wondering what exactly is going on in the hotel room and in the minds of the people. Both the dominant and submissive positions become more malleable as the plot thickens.

Screenwriter Micah Bloomberg deftly maintains equilibrium and keeps the action moving. Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott both give excellent performances that add to the film’s eerie tone.

Watch Margaret Qualley’s Sanctuary (2023) Movie  Trailer

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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