July 3, 2023

SCREEN | Margaret Qualley Sells 'Sanctuary' x WFF 2022

"It's because you're a pervert."
Margaret Qualley Christopher Abbott Zachary Wigon | Sanctuary | WFF 2022
Whistler Film Festival
New York indie filmmaker Zachary Wigon directs a chillingly unpredictable two-hander of a psychological thriller starring Margaret Qualley and Christopher Abbott as an unconventional dominatrix blackmailing her insecure hotel empire heir client in Sanctuary. Set during an emotionally intense session, the charismatic pair go back and forth sublimely in a twisty roleplay that goes beyond its stage-like theatrical setting.

Qualley and Abbott have so much twisted natural chemistry in playing two strange souls fated to manipulate each other into the best (or maybe worst?) versions of themselves. It's a kinky, stripped-down single-location (a lavish penthouse hotel suite) character chamber piece of ping-ponging emotional depth.

Screenwriter Micah Bloomberg cements the off-kilter film with a strong element of control. Both characters are desperately seeking it. All the basic elements combine for a fresh Hitchcockian take on the sexy erotic thriller while addressing male kinks of degradation and humiliation through BDSM.

Qualley and Abbott are both exceptionally game and dominate their characters a real sickos. Their performances go for it, aided by Wigon's stylish but controlled direction. It's an impressive trap of a film cemented by a fantasy made real. Sanctuary is a mischievous ride focused on a strange romance of manipulation with bold choices that pay off superbly.

Sanctuary screened at the 2022 Whistler Film Festival. It's available through digital and video on demand.

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