Victoria
Acting
Directing
Cinematography
Script
Timeless
The Good
  • Masterful achievement in cinematography, “logistics” and experience
  • Amazing acting achievement by Laia Costa
  • Stunning visuals and amazing soundtrack
The Bad
  • Minor forgivable script holes
4.8Overall Score

I watched Sicario just a couple of days ago and was grappling with giving that one 4-stars or maybe 3.5 stars – and then I watched this masterpiece of cinematography tonight in the theater. And this film demonstrated to me what the difference between 4 and 5 stars actually: Victoria is a masterpiece in almost each category it throws its hat in the ring: cinematography, sound, acting, directing … basically everything.

Victoria_StillThe story is about a young Spanish woman – new to the city and life of Berlin. It starts out with her dancing in a club (excellent starter to set the pace of what’s to come in the next two hours). On her way home, she meets a bunch of real Berlin dudes with funny names who offer to show her the “real Berlin”. They have a great time, and Victoria hits it off with the leader of the gang “Sonne” – and the romantic climax of the two is interrupted by the main plot of the movie – a bank heist. And that’s where the movie goes into full gear and basically does not stop until the credits appear on the screen which deservedly start with the camera. I find this an amazing gesture to give credit to the biggest challenge and achievement – do everything in one single shot.

Going into it, I knew that it was only a single shot (and quite frankly this was also what sparkled my curiosity). So I obviously focused on that part – and the execution is really second to none – the camera uses every element in the book not to cut such as blur in and out in a close-up to add anxiousness to intensity or add a transition or a shaky cam during a heist.

Schipper and his team rehearsed for 10 days before shooting the film in its entirety for the first time, over the course of more than two hours in 22 locations in downtown Berlin during the early hours of the morning. (“The Guardian – Victora: director describes a madcap heist film that’s a one-take wonder“)

And despite this clearly being the biggest achievement of this film – the other structural elements tie in so well into the entire machine of this film. The music is used in a very powerful way to convey atmosphere and intensity at basically any given time – my favorites were the initial and intermediate club scene but also the hotel scene. Despite it being an obviously bare-bone script – all the little details provided during the first half of the film significantly contributed to build up the characters and the motives driving their behavior (the extra coke, the 4 EUR per hour salary, Boxer’s tatoo and his past).  From an acting perspective, the heroine of the film delivers a stunning performance – from carelessly living the life to desperately shellshocked and full of fear. Blinker, Sonne, Boxer und Fuss all deliver great performances as well – but Victoria’s acting is just absolutely transformational.

Obviously the film does take some shortcuts to make its point and focus on the right things – leading up to the heist and its aftermath are a little “simplified”. These are IMHO forgivable since the movie accomplishes its mission which is to tie the audience to their chairs and not let go before the 121 minutes are over. It reminded me partly to Whiplash which had the same focus and took similar shortcuts throughout in order not to waste time with other little details such as logic.

At this point Victoria is my favorite movie of 2015. It is unique, brilliant, thrilling and simply amazing – hopefully the academy will honor this masterpiece with at least a nomination for best foreign film.

Info

victoria_xlg

  • Running time: 121 min
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller
  • Year: 2015

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.