Victoria, a young Spanish woman, meets four local guys outside a nightclub in Berlin. These boys owe someone a dangerous favor that needs repaying that evening. As Victoria’s flirtation with Sonne begins developing, he convinces her to come along for a ride that quickly spirals out of control.
An entire drama shot in a single camera movement? It’s not only possible, it’s thrilling. Few films in recent memory have used the long take to such a audacious extreme as Victoria, a bravura, serpentine tour of a single night in Berlin held in the camera’s taut suspense.
Schipper’s low-budget drama about a reckless young girl’s excursion into the world of crime would be an ordinary enough affair were it not for the astonishing fact that he and cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen shot the whole film in a single take, roaming the streets of Berlin to encompass 22 different locations en route. Bolstered by an atmospheric score by Nils Frahm and masterful performances by its young leads… the result is a lively and engrossing exercise in creative swagger.
Armrest-clenching adrenaline and the impulsivity of Berlin’s “anything goes” hedonism combine with technical virtuosity in Sebastian Schipper’s impressive arthouse twist on the heist movie. In one long, exhilarating take in real time through 22 locations and with a pounding electronic soundtrack by Nils Frahm Victoria reels us along with a Spanish ex-pat (Laia Costa) from a night out clubbing into a bank robbery with sensitive tough Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his friends.
Victoria is unthinkable without Sturla Brandth Grøvlen’s unfailingly dazzling camera work, which earned him a deserved Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale, as well as the first slot in the film’s closing credits. A covert member of the group and participant in every action, his versatile camera injects each scene with the requisite mood, conveying Victoria’s shifting frame of mind.