Last Updated on November 23, 2023 by SPN Editor
The Royal Hotel, directed by Kitty Green, marks her follow-up to “The Assistant,” a film that garnered critical acclaim in 2020. In the movie, the cast includes Julia Garner as Hanna, Jessica Henwick as Liv, Herbert Nordrum as Torsten, Dylan River as Bartender, and Keylan Devine-Ingerson as French Man.
The Royal Hotel offers a gripping narrative set against a backdrop of isolation and danger. It is a film that will resonate with audiences, prompting them to question the boundaries of acceptability in our culture. Kitty Green’s masterful direction and the outstanding performances of the cast make this a must-watch thriller that challenges.
This new movie presents a gripping tale that delves into the harrowing experiences of two backpackers, Hanna (played by Julia Garner) and Liv (played by Jessica Henwick), as they embark on a journey to the remote Outback of Australia.
Hanna and Liv, two best friends from Canada, seek solace on the other side of the world, attempting to escape from an undisclosed past event that haunts them. Their adventure begins with carefree moments on a yacht in Sydney Harbor, dancing and enjoying the picturesque views of the Opera House. However, their euphoria is short-lived when financial troubles hit, leaving them with rejected credit cards and a pressing need for cash.
In their search for a quick solution, they find themselves accepting the only job available: bartending at a remote Outback pub known as The Royal Hotel. This decision thrusts them into an isolated world devoid of phone signal, Wi-Fi, and basic amenities. Moreover, they are forewarned about the unwelcome “male attention” they are likely to encounter.
The Royal Hotel follows in the tradition of Australian Outback thrillers, where things tend to take a dark turn. The film’s remote setting and the isolation of the protagonists intensify the sense of impending danger, particularly the looming threat of sexual violence.
The movie strategically employs its dual protagonists to depict two different responses to this menacing environment. While Hanna strives to maintain her personal boundaries, Liv adopts a more accommodating approach, driven by the belief that sometimes, joining in might be the only way to survive.
Their arrival at The Royal Hotel coincides with the departure of two British bartenders who indulge in outrageous debauchery, earning the approval of the locals. Liv jests about the possibility of emulating them in a few weeks, while Hanna watches in horror as the Brits engage in reckless behavior. The film highlights the growing divide between what Liv considers harmless fun and Hanna’s apprehension about the situation.
The local men they encounter vary in nature, with some exhibiting sociopathic tendencies, while others appear as deeply wounded individuals. However, the most insidious are the “nice guys” who often hide their true intentions. As the narrative unfolds, the tension escalates, and the film delves into the terrifying vortex of male dominated world, where kindness becomes a rarity.
The Royal Hotel is, at its core, a horror film, albeit one without the gore and brutality of traditional horror. The horror here is the psychological terror inflicted upon the characters, who find themselves surrounded by menacing individuals with no refuge in sight.
Kitty Green’s direction and storytelling are nothing short of remarkable. Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick deliver exceptional performances, effectively conveying the warmth of their friendship and the stark contrast in their reactions to the malevolent atmosphere.
The film concludes with a bold and thought-provoking ending that challenges societal norms. While it may not cater to everyone’s expectations, it stands as a powerful statement against the acceptance of toxic behavior.
The Royal Hotel is an eye-opening addition to the thriller and horror genres, pushing the boundaries of what such films can explore. It keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, evoking a mix of fear and anger as they witness the ordeals faced by the two women. The film’s portrayal of an uncomfortably realistic scenario encourages critical reflection on societal norms and expectations.
Director: Kitty Green
Based on: “Hotel Coolgardie” by Pete Gleeson
Music by: Jed Palmer
Produced by: Liz Watts, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning, Kath Shelper
Production companies: See-Saw Films, HanWay Films, Cross City Films
Signpost Movie Reviewer: 4 out of 5 stars.