Sunday, December 4, 2016


A Spanish born music student (Laia Costa) enrolled in the conservatory in Berlin and barely familiar with the language spends her Saturday night hitting the local clubs, carousing with a group of strangers, and somehow finding herself at the center of a bank robbery when an underworld figure comes calling in a marker on one of her newly made friends. Once getting passed the impressive feat that Sebastian Schipper's Victoria was filmed in one continuous, unbroken take, I started thinking how much is lost when you tell an entire movie (here a long movie) without editing, severely limiting what you can and cannot show in the process while pushing plot to the back burner. And in the end, when boiled down, is it really anything more than a filmed play on a large stage? While watching, my mind also retreated to Russian Ark, maybe the prime example of this kind of approach, and even with that movie's cast of 100s and magnificent stagings, it likewise became plotless and tiresome. These unobstructed shots seem to work best in smaller doses, see Touch of Evil, Goodfellas, The Player, or virtually anything by Alfonso Cuaron for a more effective employment. In the film's defense, however, there are some exciting moments and Costa's amiability aid the proceedings and keep the picture from being a total unceasing bore.
** out of ****