VIC­TO­RIA, crime drama, not rated, in Ger­man, English, and Span­ish with sub­ti­tles, Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts and Vi­o­let Crown, 3.5 chiles

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - — Jen­nifer Levin

Vic­to­ria (Laia Costa) is a young woman from Madrid who’s liv­ing in Ber­lin. On the night this movie takes place, she has gone danc­ing. Af­ter a fi­nal gulp of schnapps, she de­cides to head home be­cause she has to work in the morn­ing and it’s near­ing 4 a.m. But as she is leav­ing, she meets four young men who flirt with her in a friendly way af­ter they are de­nied en­try to the club. They are home­town boys, dressed down and drunk. They in­vite her to see the “real” Ber­lin with them, and she ac­cepts, aban­don­ing her bi­cy­cle for a ride in their car. To Amer­i­can au­di­ences, this prob­a­bly looks like the de­ci­sion of a woman with a wild streak or a death wish, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Vic­to­ria is good-na­tured and so are the boys, and she takes a lik­ing to Sonne (Fred­er­ick Lau), the sweet-faced, track-pants-wear­ing charmer of the group.

It might not be im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent to the un­trained eye that Vic­to­ria was filmed in one long, un­bro­ken shot. Given the way the plot de­vel­ops, this cin­e­matic tech­nique has more in com­mon with the fa­mous un­bro­ken open­ing of Or­son Welles’ noir clas­sic Touch of Evil (1958) than it does with the dream­like Rus­sian Ark (2002), in which the cam­era and nar­ra­tor share a point of view as they time-travel through a liv­ing mu­seum. The salient fea­ture of the un­bro­ken shot here is that Vic­to­ria takes place in real time, and in that time — about two and a quar­ter hours — Vic­to­ria and her new friends go from drink­ing bud­dies to crim­i­nal con­spir­a­tors on the run for their lives. How quickly this hap­pens is an es­sen­tial fea­ture of their meet­ing, one of those rare and ran­dom mag­i­cal nights out in which two peo­ple are swept up by mu­tual ro­man­tic in­fat­u­a­tion. A sense of loy­alty and a will­ing­ness to take risks blos­som out of pro­por­tion to re­al­ity.

The act­ing is ex­cel­lent and feels nat­u­ral, which must have taken plenty of re­hearsal, akin to a stage play in which the ac­tors must re­main in char­ac­ter for the du­ra­tion. As we get to know Sonne, Boxer (Franz Ro­gowski), Blinker (Bu­rak Yigit), and Fuß (Max Mauff), we be­gin to see them as Vic­to­ria does: funny, a lit­tle dan­ger­ous, and def­i­nitely worth stay­ing up for. When she de­cides at one point to leave them so she can rest be­fore work, Sonne goes with her to a café, and we learn some­thing of her past and her dis­ap­point­ments. In turn, we see her as Sonne sees her: a mys­tery he wants to un­ravel and ap­pre­ci­ate. They must live out their ro­mance too quickly, how­ever, as the con­se­quences of a ter­ri­ble bar­gain, made in an­other time by some­one else, de­ter­mine their fate.

Thrill-seek­ing: Laia Costa

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