Directed by: Sebastian Schipper | 140 minutes | crime, drama, thriller | Actors: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit, Max Mauff, André Hennicke, Anna Lena Klenke, Hans-Ulrich Laux, Eike Frederik Schulz, Adolfo Assor, Jan Breustedt, Ambar de la Horra, Anne Düe, Daniel Fripan, Martin Goeres, Philipp Kubitza, Nadja Laura Mijthab, Dennis Oestreich, Ulrike Runge
“Victoria” impressed the last Berlinale. Positive reviews in Variety and Hollywood Reporter and several German film awards (Lola’s) were the result, and predict a good Dutch future for this project, which, prior to viewing, mainly arouses our interest because of its starting point. “Victoria” consists of one take of 130 minutes, in which a lonely, clubbing Spanish student (Costa) is swept up in the nighttime perils of a group of Berlin youngsters, who later turn out to be carrying out a bank robbery.
The concept of the German filmmaker Sebastian Schipper (47) is an organizational and technical tour de force, making use of nearby locations in Berlin’s Mitte district. Even more challenging than a related film like “Lola Rennt”, in which the camera follows a running lead character in 81 minutes. Perhaps too challenging for a good rhythm, because although the approach lends itself perfectly to the exciting second half of the film, in which the disarming Victoria takes the nervous amateur robbers by the hand, the first hour is quite a sitting.
Lead actors Laia Costa and Frederick Lau (group leader Sonne) struggle in the first part of the film – a romantic voyage of discovery by two young lovers, clearly with the formula. There is certainly chemistry, it is certain that extra takes and editing interventions would have led to a better result. In the slow first hour, which is most reminiscent of an improvised audition, the viewer lacks context and conviction to get fully immersed in the adventurous character of the film.
He will then get the right momentum with the bank robbery and its settlement. In the action-oriented second half of “Victoria”, the one-take formula pays off; it contributes greatly to the level of reality, and the underlying idea that young people can intuitively enter situations where chance prevails – with all the consequences that entails, is convincing by the quality of the implementation. Costa shows an unpolished talent in this. And Hollywood should be happy with this experiment; a boned remake is not yet available.