Take a Drink: for red flags and bad decisions
Take a Drink: for drinks and drugs (and good, real German Becks!)
No “German Quality” bullshit here
Take a Drink: whenever you wonder if Victoria has some sort of death wish
Do a Shot: for musical interludes
Do a Shot: for both club scenes (one’s a bit more… revealing)
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
One take movies are so hot right now. Birdman‘s mostly cut-free technical wizardry captured last year’s Best Picture, and this bravura short right here is apparently being stretched to feature length:
Well, Victoria sees that bet and ups it to 140 entirely cut-free minutes of brutally escalating tension. The film begins as a young Spaniard, the titular Victoria (Laia Costa), runs into handsome raconteur Sonne (Frederick Lau) and his group of inebriated buddies outside a Berlin nightclub. The next two and a half real-time hours will see her embroiled in their increasingly sketchy schemes, leading up to a gut-wrenchingly intense finale.
The genius of Victoria is how unobtrusive its signature conceit is. The greatest compliment I can give DP/Cameraman Sturla Brandth Grovlen is how beautifully his handheld camerawork fades into the background- we’re so engrossed in this story and these characters that it’s easy to lose track of the lack the technical wizardry. However, when you take a step back and consider the choreography and planning that Grovlen and Director Sebastian Schipper must have put into this film, it’s awe-inspiring.
It gets more complicated than walking and talking pretty quickly
This film would not have had near the vicious intensity it builds towards without its actors, who had to deliver across longer takes than possibly anyone has undergone ever before. Costa and Lau are both natural, charismatic talents, and both do an excellent job building fully realized characters through their interactions with each other and the able supporting cast. Costa in particular has to make us understand why she would ever consider going along with a second act plan that starts the wheels turning on the inexorably crushing denouement. The hints at the defeat and despair she feels underneath her outwardly cheerful personality deliver that in spades, however.
A couple final tips of the glass to Nils Frahm’s evocative score and the fact that I totally spotted the hostel I stayed in Berlin at almost this time last year. Goddam this year’s been boring.
Victoria certainly takes its sweet time with character-building before getting to the thrills, but that pays off quite well when they do come, and you will not be feeling the 140 minute run-time by the end, trust me. Also… don’t think about the plot tooo hard.
I know you don’t really care anymore, but dammit, at some point do the smart thing and go home!
Okay, comparing Birdman and Victoria isn’t quite fair because their ambitions are focused in different directions. Still, I know which one pulls off one-take filmmaking more seamlessly, and arguably, more powerfully.