The Royal Hotel – REVIEW

The Royal Hotel – REVIEW
Image: Jessica Henwick and Julia Garner in THE ROYAL HOTEL. Image: film still

The premise to this movie is potentially alluring: two young women arrive in Sydney from overseas and want to travel, expecting an adventure. They’ve run out of money so accept a job working at The Royal Hotel, a pub outside a mining town in the outback which is frequented by rowdy men.

They are told to expect male attention. What’s brewing in the minds of a select few men with questionable characters? Does the male attention go too far?

Hugo Weaving in THE ROYAL HOTEL. Photo: See Saw Films

Oddly described as a ‘thriller’ this Australian movie lacks all the elements of a thriller. This genre should give audiences heightened feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise, anticipation, and anxiety, however it dismally fails to do so on all accounts.

The movie fails to ignite as the story basically lacks substance. Nothing much happens in the first hour resulting in a frightfully dull, boring, and somewhat exhausting movie to watch. It’s a long, long, lead up to nothing much at all.

THE ROYAL HOTEL. Image: film still

When there’s a disturbance in the second half involving a deviant in the hotel, it actually restores faith, but unfortunately it’s too little too late.

In the final act, one of the damsels in distress experience some unwanted attention which leads to one of them charging throughout the hotel wielding an axe in one of the most lacklustre finales ever seen in an Australian thriller.

It’s justifiable that the women have a feeling of resentful anger for what they have experienced but what they do in the very final frame is ludicrous, unwarranted, and just plain stupid and laughable.

Hugo Weaving plays the role of Billy, the unlikeable owner of the hotel and Julia Garner and Jessica Henwick portray the young women. Their performances are satisfactory, but they could only do so much with the unremarkable script which they were given to work with.

This movie unashamedly serves as a travel brochure to allure travellers to Australia with beautiful shots of the landmarks in Sydney and also the sunburnt landscapes of the outback.

The Royal Hotel is definitely not one of the best Australian movies ever produced. Conversely, some moviegoers may enjoy it purely for the cinematography which is absolutely stunning, and also the soundtrack which has some good tracks from the 80’s, including some early hits from Kylie Minogue.


In Cinemas November 23

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