The Royal Hotel: An Aussie Outback Thriller from a Feminine Perspective
Do we always have to say yes?
In the film The Royal Hotel, director Kitty Green explores the darker side of masculinity in the remote outback of Australia. The movie takes a feminine perspective on the classic outback thriller genre and delves into the volatile power dynamics and potential for exploitation and violence. With compelling performances from Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick, The Royal Hotel is a thought-provoking and suspenseful exploration of when it’s okay to say no.
In The Royal Hotel, director Kitty Green takes a fresh approach to the classic outback thriller genre by examining it from a feminine perspective. Similar to the Australian gothic classic Wake in Fright, the film highlights the darker aspects of masculinity in an isolated outback setting with excessive alcohol consumption. Unlike Wake in Fright, however, The Royal Hotel never fully unleashes horror but rather hints at its presence.
Julia Garner, who previously starred in Green’s acclaimed film The Assistant, delivers a compelling performance as Hanna, one of the film’s two female leads. Hanna and her friend Liv, played by Jessica Henwick, find themselves in a remote mining community after running out of money. They take a job at The Royal Hotel, a faded establishment that serves as a meeting place for the locals. From the moment they arrive, both girls are warned about the male attention they are likely to receive.
The interactions between Hanna, Liv, and the regulars at The Royal Hotel serve as the focal point of the film’s tension. Green drew inspiration from the documentary Hotel Coolgardie, which depicts the relationships between two young Finnish women and the rough male regulars at an Australian pub. However, in The Royal Hotel, the focus shifts to younger men who exhibit more intent and danger. Toby Wallace and Daniel Henshall give compelling performances as these characters, bringing a heightened sense of unease to their interactions with the female leads.
Hanna, the more cautious of the two friends, becomes increasingly reluctant to appease the fragile male egos around her, while Liv is more inclined to go with the flow. This contrast in their reactions reflects the passivity of Hanna’s character in The Assistant. The film builds suspense as it explores the potential for violence and the societal pressure on women to avoid provoking male aggression. The climax of the film showcases a defiant act of resistance from the female leads, embodying their anger and frustration.
While The Royal Hotel does not reach the same level of intensity as its documentary inspiration, it serves as a thought-provoking parable set in the vast Australian desert. Green’s intelligent and stylish direction, along with the standout performances from Garner and Henwick, make The Royal Hotel a compelling exploration of gender dynamics and power imbalances.
The Royal Hotel is currently screening in cinemas and is a must-watch for those interested in thought-provoking thrillers with a feminist perspective.
- The Royal Hotel re-examines the classic outback thriller through a female lens
- The film explores the precarious relations between two female backpackers and the male regulars at the hotel
- The tension builds as the interactions become increasingly dangerous
- The film concludes with a defiant act of resistance
- The Royal Hotel is an intelligent and stylish parable set in the Australian desert
The Royal Hotel offers a fresh take on the Australian outback thriller genre, presenting it through the lens of female experiences and power dynamics. With its gripping storyline and standout performances, the film raises important questions about consent, violence, and societal expectations. Do we always have to say yes?