Netflix picks: Victoria shot in one continuous take

Victoria (2015) is a whirlwind of a film, packing a devilish punch in this German heist thriller with a splash of romance.

Shot in one continuous take in the course of 138 minutes, Victoria follows the film’s lead character Victoria (played by Laia Costa) on her wild night of unexpected turns that lead to sorrow.

With a pulsating strobe light mixed into throbbing, heavy techno, psychedelic music is sure to give you a stroke if you don’t turn away, the film starts out in an underground club somewhere in Berlin. Victoria is a Spanish girl dancing alone with no friends or ties to the city except for a café where she works in the morning. There’s a sense of longing in Victoria’s character which we feel through Costa’s performance.

It’s getting late and we see Victoria go to grab her jacket to leave. A group of rowdy, drunken German guys start hitting on her on her way out, and they start stumbling up the stairs to follow. Getting caught into sly conversation with one of them named Sonne (Frederick Lau), Victoria follows the gang for an adventure down the street.

When it’s time for Victoria to head back for the night in order to get some sleep before work, Sonne drives her back on the bicycle Victoria rode. They make it back and Victoria sees if Sonne wants to have a quick coffee.

The two go inside to settle down and Sonne notices a piano sitting in the corner. He boasts sarcastically about how great of a musician he is, yet it’s Victoria who steals the show. Victoria is a brilliant talent on the piano, dashing at the keys like fire and letting her soul get lost in the music. The audience learns she failed a music competition and is now just finishing up her music degree.

In sharing stories with one another, Sonne gets a call from his buddies and it’s time for him to head home. They pick him up and take him away, only to return a few minutes later with an offhand favor to ask Victoria. She agrees to go with them, unaware of the misery that lies ahead.

The first hour of the film drags on for a while since nothing really happens except for some drunk, late night shenanigans. A small romance between Victoria and Sonne sparks, but that doesn’t pick up until later in the second half.

It’s not until the group meets the dangerous gangster in which they owe $10,000 to for an old favor, where we see the film’s tension flow in. With no other option but to pull off the bank robbery as a means of swiping away the debt, they take a few hits of cocaine to ready their senses.

From here, the film epitomizes a roller coaster with the highs and lows the characters and the audience feel until the very last plummet. Authenticity is found in Victoria unlike any other film that has come along in a while. Done in one fluid take, the cinematic feat this film accomplishes is undeniable and, although it may feel dreary and long, the experience is worth the watch.

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