Movie Review – Victoria

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Movie Review – Victoria

Category : Movie Review

Director: Sebastian Schipper

Starring: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski

Year: 2015

One take, two hours, three attempts.  That sums up Victoria pretty nicely, and becomes more impressive the more time you have to think it over.  This film was shot three times, over the course of two hours in Berlin each time, and the final attempt is what we get to see.  Let that sink in for a minute; two hours of continuous filming to tell one story.  No edits, no cuts, no forgotten lines.  Actually, there weren’t many lines to begin with apparently, the screenplay consisting of twelve pages & the movie made up mostly of improvised dialogue.  It’s something you have to see to believe, not just because it was captured in one take, since, sure, a couple actors could sit and talk for two hours, making one shot easy as long as they didn’t flub up.  No, Victoria is not just a drama, its a docu-drama, a crime spree, an action flick, a foreign thrill ride, and all done without blinking.  So, yeah, impressive doesn’t begin to describe it.

Victoria is a young, Spanish girl in Berlin, Germany dancing at a club, having a drink, feeling a little lonely in a new city.  After leaving the bar, she encounters a friendly foursome who are a little drunk, a little mischievous, but seem nice enough.  Sonne seems to be the leader, and also seems to have a crush on Victoria.  Boxer is the muscle, a kid who’s done time, but wants everyone to know that he’s not a bad guy.  Blinker is funny, Fuss is quiet, and all four guys just want to have a nice time.  Victoria walks with them around the city, has some beer, lounges on a rooftop, but must eventually head to the cafe that she must open at 7am, two hours from now.  But her night isn’t over quite yet, actually it hasn’t even begun, as the boys reveal to her their plans before dawn & how she fits in, beginning a short period of time packed with life-changing events that some of them won’t live to remember.

I can’t get past the single shot technique, and neither will you after watching this film.  And, again, it’s not because the camera was rolling for two straight hours, it’s what happens during that time that will blow you away.  Joy rides, robberies, chase scenes, shootouts, deceptions, deaths; we don’t just sit in one place, no sir, we see Berlin entire, and as the sun begins to rise the true action is just beginning.  Ultra-realism at its finest, Victoria forces you to be a part of the crew, to follow along every second, to stand next to our heroine no matter what is happening, even if you want to turn away.  I can’t tell how I would react were this an American movie; perhaps I would find fault in the acting, which couldn’t have been perfect in every scene, off-the-cuff & improvised as it was.  But the characters were German and Spanish, spoke in English in order to communicate with each other, and so always felt real to me given my lack of understanding.  I’ll take that as a blessing though, since I enjoyed this movie from start to finish and would recommend it to anyone ready for something completely unique.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆