Victoria, film review: ‘Thriller relies on being shot in one take’

A still from Victoria

A still from Victoria - Credit: Archant

At the end of two-and-a-quarter hours, the first name to appear in the credits is that of the cameraman.

That’s pretty unusual, but in this case it is well earned recognition for a very fine night’s work by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen.

He spent the hours around dawn running through the streets of Berlin, sliding into cars, jumping into lifts, avoiding being seen in any reflective surfaces and shooting the whole damn film in one go.

One-hundred-and-thirty-eight minutes is a long time in the cinema but a comparatively short period in life.

For Victoria (Costa), a Spanish girl living in Berlin it is enough to turn her life upside down. We first see her dancing alone in an underground nightclub, trying to make some connection with the barman, but trapped by the language barrier (she doesn’t speak German, just English).


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As she leaves she gets talking with four local lads who seem like ne’er-do-wells and forms an attraction to Sonne (Lau).

The film is about the possibilities of change, the fluidity of identity and the desperation of loneliness.

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Going with the flow is an important concept in it, both in terms of what it is about and how to respond to it.

Filming a whole film in one take can be dismissed as a gimmick, but there’s no film without it: this story wouldn’t be worth telling, and it certainly wouldn’t be believable.

Over the course of two hours, she will go from one place to somewhere quite different.

The change would be ridiculous in most narratives, but here both audience and protagonist are too caught up in events to notice. It’s all about letting yourself go.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

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