Gyrates between ticking off the tropes of the genre and gesturing towards metaphor in a jarring and not particularly pleasant way. I maybe would have preferred my chair set to a single speed. Still, Shortland shows her unique style and voice, she just got to say more with it in 'Lore'.
Max Riemelt's charming psychopath meets Teresa Palmer's anxiety ridden, desperately lonely traveller in the perfect emotional state for him to exploit. It builds great characters, but seems to lack a story to follow them on, almost coming to a stall midway as it follows a paint-by-numbers abduction plot while building a deeper backstory for the abductor. It picks up at the end, but 20 minutes less would be better.
The subtext is what really matters: real estate in Berlin vs. Melbourne. The true scary part is that Shortland's film is a pro-gentrification manifesto. An empty building in Berlin inevitably breeds psychopaths. All that unused capital must be filled with hipsters! Rents are to be extracted! Quick! Quick! I am sure that Alberto Toscano would find Berlin Syndrome a terrific case study.
Based on the trailer, I hadn't been this scared to watch a film since Funny Games. It's thankfully smarter and more tasteful than that trailer suggests - though still (rightfully) not without trauma. As suggested it's operating on a heightened level, more consistent with a metaphor for control in relationships and fascism than straight thriller. Doing so it risks ignoring more banal horrors, of which I'm not too sad
You have to (I had to) put forth a certain amount of effort to take BERLIN SYNDROME seriously. But it's worth it. I think this is the only time in my life I have ever been watching a movie and thought: this reminds me of Margarethe von Trotta. That's not good or bad, just interesting. There is a lot going on here. A kind of metaphor overload. It will appeal to academics. You could write reams of smart shit about it.
Intense! Starts off slow but once it hits it's stride half way in, it ups the stakes and tension ten-fold. Really uncomfortable viewing. Performances are solid, in particular Teresa Palmer who's utterly believable. The direction and cinematography are both assured and complimentary to the story. Top marks to Kate for not romanticising Berlin or trivialising traveler naiveté. 4 stars
An effective and chilling thriller that doesn't do anything particularly new, but doesn't do anything bad either. Teresa Palmer is the real hero here. She elevates every frame she's in. Berlin starts slow and when it eventually gets going, it stutters along the way. Berlin Syndrome is 15 minutes too long and becomes pretty convoluted towards the end. It's relatively forgettable but should keep most audiences glued.