Victoria – Review
Director: Sebastian Schipper
Release: 2016 April (UK)
Staring: Laia Costa
Victoria is a bold venture film making, a full length film shot entirely in one night, using one camera, and all performed in one take. It’s an idea so crazy it’s almost enough to make most directors and producers want to rip their hair out at the thought of attempting it and most might label it as a film only made notable by the “gimmick” that the film is built around. However I’m happy to say this is not the case, the film stands up in its own right and is only enhanced by the concept… for the most part.
Victoria is the story of a young Spanish (Laia Costa) woman who has recently moved to Berlin, we start by watching her dancing in a club late at night. Things seem to be winding down for the evening and she begins to leave, however on her way back she begins to talk to a group of drunken men who persuade her to stay out for a little longer and have a drink with them. For the first 50 minutes of the film we get some nice interactions with the characters and we get a sense of their different personalities, this is definitely aided by the way the film is shot, the handheld camera makes you feel as though you are a part of this group and the fact we don’t miss a second through cuts helps to deepen that connection you build to the characters before things start to going. Victoria is quickly caught up in a haphazard criminal scheme where the characters are forced to participate.
From this point of the pace of the film is lightning fast and the tension will have you gripping your seat, again aided by the one shot nature of the film you feel as though you are right alongside them every step of the way. The film is excellent and definitely is must see for anyone who is a fan of cinema. However it is important to note that are a few minor complaints we had with the film that definitely don’t ruin the film however could be seen as areas for improvement. There are a few instances where there is no dialogue in a scene a loud sound of breathing is clearly edited into the scene, also there are a few scenes where some non diegetic music will come in drowning out of all the natural audio these edits feel strangely out of place and can suck you out of the experience for a minute or two. One other complaint is a scene which can be seen in the trailer where Victoria is playing a piano, this was clearly included to make the impress the audience however when the scene comes around it is not convincing in the slightest, again it doesn’t ruin the film and it was ambitious to include this scene but it could have been done better.
Overall though our complaints are extremely minor in the grand scheme of things, as Victoria manages to be a masterfully executed film otherwise it’s definitely not a film that is overshadowed by a gimmick it is instead strengthened by it.