Zachary Wigon’s 96-minute-long film, Sanctuary is a psychological thriller that revolves around a bold Dominatrix and her wealthy client. With Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott as the main characters, this film is mostly a Bottle film.
The storyline of Sanctuary centers on Hal, a rich heir to a hotel business, and Rebecca, a dominatrix whom Hal hires. They create their own little weird but intimate world using frequent acting sessions, where Hal is dominated and sexually degraded by Rebecca.
However, when Hal finally feels the need to stop these sessions, Rebecca has a hard time letting go of it. Both the dominatrix and her client engage in an intense final battle of wits as they try to overpower each other using what they believe is the right thing to do next.
The only actors that Sanctuary consists of are Margaret and Christopher, in their roles of Rebecca and Hal. Being a Bottle movie, Sanctuary can be claustrophobic at times, but its impeccable acting and compelling plot are good enough to keep you wanting to watch until the end.
Sanctuary 2022: What Happens In The Film?
Rebecca, an employee at a Law firm, shows up to Hal’s hotel room with some documents. We soon find out that this is just a play, and Rebecca’s following a script that Hal had prepared for her. Rebecca is Hal’s dominatrix and continues to degrade him and make him follow her orders.
After the session ends, Rebecca and Hal have lunch together, and Hal gifts her an expensive watch. He tries to softly fire Rebecca by claiming what they did here was no longer appropriate for his next position in life, which was being the CEO of Porterfield Hotels.
Rebecca is heartbroken and leaves but later comes back when the realization hits that she is the one who made Hal confident enough to even talk or do something he wanted. Hal tries to make her go away, but Rebecca demands that Hal pay her half of his salary for one year, which would amount to around $4 million.
Hal doesn’t agree but becomes furious when Rebecca claims she has a private video of his that she would publish if he didn’t listen to her. He proceeds to break down the whole room to find out where she hid the camera. He ends up electrocuting himself, so Rebecca calms him down by saying it’s not worth dying for.
After being intimate and proving that Hal listens to everything she says, Rebecca claims that she wants to have a child with Hal. It later turns out to be just something she said in the heat of the moment, as Rebecca reveals she has endometriosis and can’t become pregnant.
Hal calls up his lawyer and agrees to give Rebecca his salary of $6 million, but only if she leaves collateral with him. She doesn’t have any, so he drags her back into their room and ties her up to show who’s in control. Rebecca tells him that she broke up with her Fiancé Alexander and even left her job because she felt loyal to Hal.
Hal hates the thought of this, so he asks her to stop using their safe word, “Sanctuary”. After quarreling back and forth, Hal and Rebecca fall asleep in the bathroom. Rebecca wakes up the next day and gets ready to leave, but Hal accompanies her to the lift.
Sanctuary 2022: Ending Explained
After both Hal and Rebecca end up in the lift (finally a change of location), Hal lets her know about an upcoming event where his mother is going to introduce him as the CEO of Porterfield. Rebecca tells him that he can buy out the whole company and replace whoever he wants if that would make him feel better.
Seeing Rebecca’s strong mindset and intellect, he decides to ask her if she would be okay with being the CEO instead. Rebecca’s surprised at first, but then agrees to it after Hal reveals he would like to live the rest of his life as Rebecca’s slave.
Sanctuary 2022 ends with Hal and Rebecca ending up together and finally becoming a couple. This is not the usual ending for psychological thrillers, but it was refreshing to see something good happen with the protagonists for once.
The ending shows that Hal had finally realized that he wasn’t prepared or even built to ever become a CEO. It was what was expected of Hal from his family and company, so he tried to change himself for it. Staying with Rebecca was his real source of power.
Being dominated by her somehow made Hal feel complete and like he belonged. Rebecca felt the same, as she revealed that when she was in the outside world, she was just another random person who hated herself. When she was with Hal, dominating him made her feel like the person she always aspired to be.
Hal finally knew what he wanted through Rebecca. Despite their constant disagreements and brutal blackmailing, they always went back to stop each other, showing that they truly did have some kind of feelings between them.
There are theories that Hal and Rebecca were a couple all along, with Sanctuary showcasing one big act of theirs. This also makes sense, especially in scenes where Rebecca reveals that she can’t have babies, and both of them share a sad silence. Rebecca also seems to know exactly how much Hal and his company amount to, further solidifying this theory.
Needless to say, Sanctuary has one of the most intriguing stories for a psychological thriller. Even though the whole film takes place in one hotel room, Rebecca and Hal manage to create a special world within it.