STARRING: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Max Mauff, Burak Yigit and André Hennicke
A young Spanish woman who has newly moved to Berlin finds her flirtation with a local guy turn potentially deadly as their night out with his friends reveals a dangerous secret.
Victoria follows the title character, a young Spanish woman, who has moved to Berlin in the last few months and though she doesn’t speak German or have any friends in the country, she’s found work at a local cafe. Coming out from a club she meets four young men that invite her to take a walk through the city, which she agrees to.
Victoria is the much praised (from those that I know) German film by Sebastian Schipper which has us following a young woman one night in Berlin in which she’s been living there for the last few months, yet she’s not fluent in the language yet and has no friends. Towards the end of the night in the town she bumps into four young men who invite her to talk a walk with them through the city which happens to changes Victoria’s life forever.
I definitely appreciate in what Schipper and Sturla Brandth Grøvlen achieve here in creating a two hour plus feature film in one single continuous shot through the streets of Berlin and several other locations ranging from shops, to apartments, to rooftops, to clubs and even throwing in an action-esque set piece towards films end. Within this continuous shot there is some really nice cinematography from Grøvlen and the performances are very authentic due to the part that large part of the dialogues is improvised due to the screenplay being very short (originally 12 pages long) and Laia Costa as the lead is a particular highlight.
The problem I had with the film is while I enjoyed getting to know the characters in the first act, the film takes a turn off-road in the middle from what I expected and from then on to films end I didn’t care for the end result. Others will feel definitely but the film ends up going down a road where the continuous shot managed to hinder the suspense in my opinion and characters are either driving or standing about waiting for the next big moment in the film to arrive so the film stalls at certain moments for me. While I enjoyed the chemistry/arc between Victoria and Sonne, I didn’t manage to care enough for what happened to everyone else as the film progressed as though we get a slight background behind each one, there wasn’t enough there for me to get attached to any of them.
Victoria is a film worth any film fan or filmmakers time to check out for the technical aspect of a feature film being down in one single continuous shot, it does have an authentic performance appeal to it and while I enjoyed the performances and the directing, it comes down to story choices for me that I didn’t get in to from the direction it turns to not caring enough for particular characters. Laia Costa is the highlight. 5/10