Victoria (2015)

Victoria
Director: Sebastian Schipper
Writer: Sebastian Schipper, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Eike Frederik Schulz
Cast: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit, Max Mauff, André Hennicke
Seen on: 19.8.2015

Plot:
Victoria (Laia Costa) is out dancing alone. As she is about to leave the club, she meets Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his friends Boxer (Franz Rogowski), Blinker (Burak Yigit) and Fuß (Max Mauff), whose birthday they’re celebrating. Somehow Victoria gets sucked into their party and their night. But Boxer has a heavy past and its about to catch up with them – with unforseeable consequences.

Victoria has garnered quite some fame due to the fact that it was shot in a single take. And while the execution of that concept is brilliant, the story and the characters are not.

Victoria

It’s not easy to make a film in a single take. That’s why it’s usually not done. It takes a lot of logistics, good actors, a story that can take place in its entirety in the length of a film and an insane amount of coordination, planning and rehearsing. That Victoria goes off pretty much without a hitch really is a testament to the skills of everyone involved and I applaud it. It makes the film fascinating, albeit it only from a technical point of view.

Unfortunately, in Victoria’s case the story couldn’t really keep up with the concept and the technology. My major issue with the film was that I just didn’t understand why Victoria would go along with the guys like she did. Yes, it was mentioned that she hardly knows anyone in Berlin, but when you’re a woman out alone at night it is very unlikely that you just go along with a group of guys you just met, even if one of them is cute and flirty. Especially if the group is obviously inebriated and you meet them while they almost steal a car (but they’re just messing around) and the first thing they suggest you do is shoplift. I understand that this introduction is necessary to set up the later climax in the film, but then it would have also been necessary to introduce Victoria as more, let’s call it morally flexible. But she’s just a normal girl out dancing, so her decisions never make sense to me (it only gets worse later on when everybody gives her an out and she insists on not taking it).

Victoria1If I disregard the bigger context of the plot, there were many character moments that I really enjoyed. The guys felt extremely natural in their friendship and Sonne and Victoria’s budding romance was cute in the quiet moments. The entire cast really works their respective roles and it’s beautiful to watch.

But ultimately, Victoria lives off its concept. And as well-executed as it was, the film also shows the strengths that editing usually gives to films and in some moments I really wanted less real time, less excited screaming, less shaky cam (although the camera work is surprisingly stable, generally speaking) and more cuts.

Victoria2Summarizing: An interesting concept well executed, but only an okay film.

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