Many movies – Birdman most recently – have promoted the one-take trope to great effect, making viewers think that they are watching a seamless story without cuts. Victoria actually manages to achieve this for real. Shot in one incredible take, we follow the adventures of Victoria (Laia Costa) as she begins a night out, drinking and dancing by herself in a Berlin nightclub. As events unfold, Victoria’s night takes some interesting turns as she meets new people and finds herself in situations beyond her wildest expectations. To say more about the plot would do the viewing experience a huge disservice.
Anyone who’s ever had a night out in a major European city can attest to the feel of the film, with casual conversation, stunning urban scenery and a sense of cautious optimism running deliciously throughout. It brings about a real sense of magic in the everyday with every action, reaction, gesture and thought adding weight to a deceptively simple premise. The cast all play their part too, with Laia Costa and Frederick Lau quite superb as the central leads.
The story has a few issues and some of the characters do very silly things but it never really affects the overall enjoyment. But narrative aside, it’s the huge technical success that will linger longest in the mind. If awards were being dished out for endeavour alone, then the Best Picture Award certainly goes to Victoria. It’s simply staggering – and the more you think about what the filmmakers have achieved, the more you’ll be in awe. Sebastian Schipper directs and co-scripts with Olivia Neergaard-Holm and Eike Frederik Schulz is create one of the most memorable cinematic experiences of the year.
For sheer endeavour alone, this will take some beating in 2016. An outstanding achievement, not just on a technical level, but for a story that hooks you in and takes you on an actual journey of unpredictable discovery. It’s also a film that proves just how important good characterisation is to any given set-up. Inventive, surprising and very unique, Victoria is a real highlight of the year.
Cast: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit, Max Mauff, André Hennicke Director: Sebastian Schipper Writer: Sebastian Schipper, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Eike Frederik Schulz Released By: Curzon/Artificial Eye Certificate: 15 Duration: 138 mins Release Date: 1st April 2016