November 24, 2015

Victoria (2015)

Victoria (2015) - Movie Review
Directed by: Sebastian Schipper
Country: Germany

Movie Review: Genuinely electrifying, “Victoria”, perhaps inspired by Gaspar Noé’s raw filmmaking style, is a triumphant drama by the German actor-turned-director, Sebastian Schipper, who impressively shot 2 hours and 18 minutes in one single take. The title character, earnestly performed by Laia Costa (the first foreign actor to win a LOLA German award), is a Spanish former piano student who moved to Berlin three months ago after seeing her musical ambitions fail. She's currently working at a small café, which she has to open every day at 7 a.m. We’re first introduced to Victoria at a night club, having a good time dancing and drinking until 4 a.m., time when she resolves to have her last drink, pick up her bike, and leave to the café. When preparing to hit the streets, she bumps into Sonne (Frederick Lau), an amusing liar, and his friends, who were trying to steal a beautiful car parked on the street. Victoria and Sonne had already seen each other at the club where he was flirting with her. Immediately, we sense a sort of chemistry between the two, but it was too soon for saying if this was authentic, or if Victoria, who doesn’t speak any German, could be in trouble by following him and his friends to a store where they steal a few beers, and then to smoke a joint on a building’s rooftop. The film succeeds in part because it was initially cooked with this haunting tension that wisely never goes in the direction we expect. The group of lawbreakers ends up smoothly accepting Victoria, who continues acting very natural and unworried while playing a casual flirting game with Sonne. The latter escorts her to the café and the romance can be spotted in the air. This relaxed moment is suddenly interrupted when Sonne has to quickly leave in order to take care of a murky business with his hyper old pal, Boxer (Franz Rogowski). He returns a few minutes later to ask if she can drive them to an old parking lot where Boxer is supposed to meet with the man who had given him protection when in jail. At the meeting, the boys are forcefully assigned to rob a bank, and once again, they’re counting with the help of the irresponsible Victoria whose behavior balances between scared and thrilled. Moving at its own hypnotic rhythm, helped by the fantastic ambient/melancholic score by Nils Frahm, and carrying a persistently gripping tension, the film, which is nothing more than a delirious night in Victoria’s life, becomes as much unforgettable (due to disparate reasons) for the viewer as it would be for the title character if the story wasn’t fiction.

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