Sanctuary – TIFF 2022


Sanctuary – TIFF 2022

Follows a dominatrix and Hal, her wealthy client, and the disaster that ensues when Hal tries to end their relationship.

A hotel heir's attempt to fire his dominatrix leads to a vicious battle of the sexes in . Hal Porterfield () is on the cusp of taking over his late father's hotel empire. He has one final session with his regular dominatrix Rebecca (), before letting her know that he will no longer require her services. However, as Rebecca is about to leave, she realizes that Hal's sessions with Rebecca are what gave him the confidence for his new position. As such, she returns to Hal's hotel room and insists that he pay her half his salary.

Sanctuary is a single-location psychological thriller directed by Zachary Wigon and starring Christopher Abbott (Possessor) and Margaret Qualley (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood). The film starts with Qualley's dominatrix Rebecca arriving at Hal's hotel room and performing a carefully scripted scene. However, afterwards, Hal tells Rebecca that he no longer needs her services and sends her away with only an expensive watch. However, Rebecca refuses to go quietly and plans to make Hal's life a living Hell if he doesn't acquiesce to her demands.

Structured like a play, Sanctuary is a film built around the performances by Christopher Abbott and Margaret Qualley. Already having proved herself as a young talent to watch with her memorable supporting role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Margaret Qualley dominates (pun intended) the screen in Sanctuary as she engages in a vicious battle of the sexes with Christopher Abbott's Hal. He is admittedly a less enticing screen presence. Altogether, Margaret Qualley's excellent performance is enough for me to give Sanctuary a minor recommendation.

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How to Watch Sanctuary – TIFF 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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