Victoria

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.

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  • ★★★★ review by CinemaClown on Letterboxd

    Shot in real time, filmed in one continuous take & made all the more believable by excellent performances from its cast, Victoria has that foreboding ambience that keeps giving off the vibe that something unfortunate is going to happen any moment now and even though its single-take gimmick is attention grabbing, it's the story & characters that hold this film together.

    Victoria covers a couple of hours in the life of its titular character, a young Spanish woman in Berlin who, while leaving a club one early morning, meets four local guys who invite her to hang out with them for a while, to which she agrees. Although her adventurous night out with them ends on an amicable note, a last-minute favour asked by the guys alters her life forever.

    Co-written & directed by Sebastian Schipper, the story of Victoria could've been easily told without the filmmakers trying to be ambitious with the camera but that added inventiveness brings an admiration of its own. The first half establishes the background of the characters as they stroll through Berlin streets & roofs but the next half is one nail-bitingly tense thriller that ups the ante considerably.

    Its single take lasting 138 minutes might be the combined result of clever editing, seamless switching & careful masking but what impressed me most is that despite it being an impressive technical feat, it never for once overshadows the unfolding drama which remains the centerpiece throughout its runtime. The actors are highly convincing in their given roles, their work gets better as the plot progresses, and it only helps in further uplifting the story.

    On an overall scale, Victoria ends on a far better note than where it appeared to be heading during the first act, keeps its main focus on the titular character from beginning to end, and manages to be an emotionally rewarding experience with or without the one-shot gimmick. Devoting as much attention to its story as it invests in seamlessly pulling off its technically challenging production, this German thriller is one of the finest films of this year, and comes thoroughly recommended.

  • ★★★½ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd

    exploring the hour before, the minute during, and the hour after a Berlin bank heist, VICTORIA exhilaratingly blurs the line between form & function, even more so than most one-shot wonders. the details are... ugly, but the trajectory — the inertia of stupidity and the bad decisions at work here — is completely lucid.

    long-takes, let alone long-takes that also double as features, are always more fun to discuss in the academic rather than pop arena. i'd rather deliver a treatise on Deleuze and the time-image than write a capsule review... which, to me, says something about the give-and-take between effect and immersion... i wonder if there's anything to be written about this that couldn't have been done about any of the shots in 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS... (or other films of its ilk)? maybe, as the dreadful copy of the film's tagline suggests ("this IS a bank robbery!"), the novel element here is one of simulation.

    anyway, i have to go home now, my planet needs me.

  • ★★★★ review by Lucy on Letterboxd

    suck it, birdman

  • ★★★★ review by DieFilmfabrik auf YouTube on Letterboxd

    Beeindruckend, intensiv, atemberaubend. Eine einzige lange Kameraaufnahme kombiniert mit einem packenden Drehbuch und viel Platz für Improvisation führt zu einem Heist Movie-Erlebnis der besonderen Sorte. Klar, hier und da sind Dinge, die scharf sein sollten, unscharf, dort und hier sind ein paar Bilder zu dunkel oder das Framing stimmt nicht, aber Victoria ist ein Film, dessen außergewöhnliche Machart fasziniert und vom Hocker reißt. Alles in allem ist es mehr als nur ein kleines Filmexperiment, sondern ein besonders nahegehendes, mitreißendes, spannendes Wechselbad der Gefühle. Auch die Performance der hervorragenden Hauptdarsteller Laia Costa, Frederick Lau und Franz Rogowski muss hervorgehoben werden. Victoria ist sicherlich weit von Perfektion entfernt, ist dafür aber ein einzigartiger Film, der zeigt, dass das deutsche Kino noch immer die Filmwelt verändern kann.

  • ★★★★★ review by The Spork Guy on Letterboxd

    Some film's success rides solely on the heels of a gimmick. Birdman did this, Russian Ark did it even better, and now, to the most full and un-doctored extent possible, we have Victoria. (I could use Andy Warhol's Empire as another example, but I mean, c'mon...) It's easy to get turned away by what has now become such a popular, yet for obvious reasons, seldom attempted technique in modern cinema. The single take film is something so difficult in theory to produce, let alone actually executing, that you can't simply shrug it off as a cute experiment. Personally, I did quite the opposite. I ate it up. I ate it all up.

    Victoria takes place in once night, over the course of 2 1/2 hours. It's really late, or really early in the morning depending on your preference of time. A young girl meets some fun loving people in a night club, she decides to hang with them, growing attached to one in particular. Soon, the night unfolds from dance party to an intense series of crime drama influenced fiascos. The best part about this is that we're right there with her/them the whole time. Since it's all in real time, we don't skip a beat. The main thing that makes that so impressive is that the actual script we follow never grows dull. I was constantly enamored with what was happening on screen, even when it was nothing more than simple dialogue between buddies without any conflict dragging them in a specific direction.

    It's crazy how natural and intriguing they were able to keep everything the entire trip through. The pretty cinematography plays a decent role in that. Not every shot is a painting, but when considering how much they'd need to sacrifice in order to get finish the film at all, the shots we got were more than enough to please and stimulate the eyes of any regular audience member. One thing this film get criticized endlessly for was the performances. Many aren't thrilled with how subpar certain actors or scenes in general played out due to them, but I suppose it's mainly due to them not being as engrossed as I. I never once was pulled out of the film because an actor seemed like they were acting. Everything on camera seemed incredibly natural whether they expressed joy, fear or pain, and considering the actors needed to be in character for almost 3 hours straight to accomplish the task at hand... This was damn near perfect in that regard alone.

    The atmosphere, subject matter and visual technique was all to my own personal liking. Sometimes it's easy to rate a movie quite highly due to how quickly a runtime of this length trickles down to nothing without you realizing it. Thus, I shall be doing that. But even with all that said, there are still many people I would never recommend this film to, simply on the fact that this is destined for strong cult status at best. Not many people will be able to hang with this and for obvious reason. It's tough on some people to stay engaged when even one of the primary aspects of this don't sit well right from the start. I'm just one of the lucky one's that happened to not have a major problem with anything. Nothing more.

    Oh and, Laia Costa has my vote for most adorable performance of 2015.

    - The Spork Guy

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