On this page I have film reviews or other film-related comments, which I will blog before they become Sprint Reviews on the s2c database. I would love to hear any comments you might have.
Victoria (Laia Costa) is visibly or audibly in every second of this 160-minute rare gem. She has recently moved to Berlin from Madrid. One night Victoria goes to a nightclub, looking a little lonely. On her way home on her bicycle she meets four inebriated male Berliners. At this point in the film, probably about 10 minutes into it, I realized it has been one long shot with the camera fluidly following her out of the nightclub into the street. As in most films of this sort with a clever long shot like this one at the beginning (for example in SPECTRE), I was wondering when there would be a cut. It never comes for the entire 2 hours and 20 minutes. Knowing this will not ruin the film for you. Enjoy the ride. The camera follows Victoria and her new friends so easily that I needed to check with myself whether a cut just occurred or not. It truly is a work of original art, much like SON OF SAUL, BIRDMAN and RUSSIAN ARK.
Laia Costa is remarkable as Victoria, emoting a performance worthy of the highest praise. And, need I remind you it is done in one take. Let's not forget her costars, the four carefree, fun loving young men who eventually get into something way over their heads. She is most attracted to Sonne (Frederick Lau), who was the one who made the first move to connect with Victoria. The four friends seamlessly interact with Victoria making it look like it could be improvised, but not feeling at all like it is. I'm guessing it was well rehearsed instead of improvised. The timing has to be precise, especially since there are several locations accessed by either foot or car. I'm still in awe of the shots in the car. Where is the cameraman sitting? And, what is so impressive is the characters are so engaging and the story is never boring that I never really was distracted by the thought of where the cameraman is until later. The story takes place in real time, some time between four and seven in the morning. A lot happens to all the characters. The two plus hours just fly by.
Kudos go to director, Sebastian Schipper and cinematographer, Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, who also shot another one of the year's best films, RAMS, for giving me such a surprisingly, original gift. It's not easy to make a work of art so viscerally enjoyable and so rewarding to watch.