Shot in one continuous take, actor turned director Sebastian Schipper has created in Victoria a very different kind of heist movie. Having recently moved to Berlin, Victoria (Laia Costa) is having difficulty making friends when, one night as she’s leaving a club, she runs into Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his renegade group of friends. The night starts off well with drinks, drugs and deep conversations but things start to go wrong quickly. Boxer, one of Sonne’s friends, owes money to the wrong kind of people; the solution is to rob a bank. Victoria decides to go along for the ride.
The film itself feels a little like a rollercoaster ride, from the dynamic (though perhaps little too long) opening scene of Victoria dancing wildly amongst a haze of strobe and dry ice to the final few scenes there’s not much time to stop for breath. The audience is dragged through the streets after the ragtag crew on their increasingly wild journey and while the narrative is dripping in cliché and the almost hilariously farfetched, Schipper’s invigorating style more than makes up for it.
Though the two-hour, 20-minute runtime does serve to dissipate the masterfully built up tension here and there, the film never feels dull. The cinematography is gorgeous and, with most of the dialogue being improvised, the relationships that unfold on screen have that little extra bit of authenticity. The two leads meld excellently, building a rather disarmingly shy, sweet bond and both are genuinely likable, as are Boxer and the rest.
Victoria may be written off by some as more of a stunt than a film but to do so is unfair as it has so much more to offer. Certainly one of the triumphs of the year and amongst the most accomplished continuously-shot films, Victoria is not an experience to be missed.
Victoria is released nationwide on 29th April 2016.
Watch the trailer for Victoria here: