The Royal Hotel is the name of a dingy pub in the Australian backwater, where Canadians Hanna (Julia Garner – Ozark) and Liv (Jessica Henwick– On The Rocks) are backpacking through as part of a work/travel programme.
It speaks volumes about the place when – while they’re studious in making sure they have all the correct documentation to show to owner Carol (Ursula Yovich), who barely takes even a cursory look at it since, as it transpires, she’s seen girls come and go in this job, including two young British women who are about to take their leave after one last hurrah at the bar.
And hurrah, they all do quite well, since the rowdy clientele is matched by Carol’s husband and co-owner, Billy (Hugo Weaving – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 3D IMAX), who’s a raging drunk. As for the place, it’s not quite a gastropub, but they do serve food, after a fashion. Not quite sure I’d want to eat there, though, since it makes even the Little Chef look professional.
The Royal Hotel has some promise, but before long, you’re just waiting for something to happen in what trawls out like a TV ‘Play for Today’, the script only excelling in providing a very uncomfortable atmosphere in the pub, given the succession of morons who frequent it, one of the most obnoxious being Dolly (Daniel Henshall – Snowtown), while Teeth (James Frecheville – I.T.) also doesn’t do himself many favours.
As such, you’re left with a film which passes 90 minutes without too much complaint, but it doesn’t really go anywhere until it’s time for the girls to leave; and about the best thing I can say about it, is that it opens with Luude’s remix of Men at Work 1983 classic, Down Under.
Two issues came to light, however. The first – and certainly a first time at this cinema – is that the picture was a bit on the blurry side. I’ve come across this, before, at Cineworld, and it turned out the projector needed a new lamp. Hence, why it wasn’t worth mentioning at the time, since it’s not something that can be fixed on the day. Also, while it was noticeable to me, it only mostly affects the image when text is onscreen, and there are no opening credits, so this only kicks in with the end ones as the film comes to a close.
The other problem is that, while I like to watch multiple films in a day at the Odeon, given that I’m using Limitless, they have a situation regarding Warner Bros, where some films just are NOT getting shown anyway. Two other films out that weekend, Bottoms and How To Have Sex, were completely absent. The former had a Limitless screening on the previous Monday – which I skipped as I was going to catch at the weekend(!) – and the latter was only on at “selected sites”, including Odeon’s AMC in Manchester. However, to get there and attempt to double-bill would’ve meant either a train trip into town and a long walk, or driving over to the Trafford Centre as usual, parking there, walking however long to get the tram stop, then wait for that to take me into town, and then get to that Odeon…
Given the time/cost of all this, and that I can get a couple of weekend Cineworld tickets for £3 each with Three, I went with that option, so after a long walk, I caught The Royal Hotel on the Saturday at Odeon, and then went to the Cineworld on Sunday for the other two films.
When I asked Odeon why they advertise films they’re not going to show, they told me that for the latter one, the adverts are generalised, and film placement decisions are made later. Yeah, because with 20 screens to fill at the Trafford Centre, the rest of the screens were still taken up with dross like The Haunting of Venice, which has been on for weeks, and must have a maximum of about three people in each screen by now(!)
However, this problem with Warner Bros (and potentially other studios) is affecting other films, namely this weekend’s Dream Scenario, and next weekend’s long-awaited Saltburn. See my video above on this topic.
So, thanks, Odeon, that’s another £6 to spend at Cineworld, making £12 extra this month I’ll have spent, when a Limitless subscription is £14.99/month(!)
The Royal Hotel is in cinemas now, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Running time: 91 minutes
Release date: November 3rd 2023
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Director: Kitty Green
Producers: Iain Canning, Kath Shelper, Emile Sherman, Liz Watts
Screenplay: Kitty Green, Oscar Redding
Music: Jed Palmer
Hanna: Julia Garner
Liv: Jessica Henwick
Torsten: Herbert Nordrum
Billy: Hugo Weaving
Carol: Ursula Yovich
Jules: Alex Malone
Cassie: Kate Cheel
Dolly: Daniel Henshall
Teeth: James Frecheville
Kev: Nic Darrigo
Keith: Adam Morgan
Macca: Adam MacNeill
Spanners: Ben Eggleton
Glenda: Barbara Lowing
Darren: Bruce R Carter
Matty: Toby Wallace
Simmo: Craig McArdle
Wayne: Len Firth
Crackers: Joel Hartgen
Tommy: Baykali Ganambarr
Suzie: Valerie Berry
Bartender: Dylan River
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.