Directed by Sebastian Schipper, Victoria is a gripping look at a night in the life of a young Spanish girl who lives in Berlin, and gets sucked into doing something she would not ordinarily do.
Shot in real time, the film is supposedly shot in one take as the camera follows Victoria (Laia Costa) as she leaves a nightclub at 4am in the morning to go home before work. There she encounters four guys and there is an initial flirtation with Sonne (Sebastian Lau). He and his friends are German, and Victoria cannot talk German fluently, so in broken English they communicate about life, drink and having fun.
Halfway through the film though, there is a shift in tone as the narrative takes an abrupt turn involving a favour ex-convict Boxer (Franz Rogowski) owes someone from when he served jail time.
The hand-held camera that follows Victoria and the real-time situation creates a fear of impending doom as we follow this vulnerable girl making hasty decisions revealing her naivety because she is alone in a big city abroad. Until the abrupt turn in the narrative, this viewer feared that Victoria was going to be a victim of sexual assault, but the shift shows how immediate a world we live in.
This is a film for the millenial era - a generation of knee-jerks and instant reaction to feel like you belong to this world. It is a film of the here and now, and how every decision can change the rest of your life, but also how fleeting moments and meetings with people can have a further longer lasting influence.
Shot with real panache by Director of Photography Sturla Brandth Grovlen (his is the first name credited at the end of the film - and rightly so), whose camera goes where the characters go into lifts and cars; there is never a let down in the tension as the narrative unfolds.
It is a credit that while the film could be marketed as a one-take gimmick film, the cast elevate the film to something more than its selling point and a film that stays with you due to the intense performances and conviction of a director to follow through on the potential of an idea to reach the ceiling and burst through it.
Victoria is out on DVD (£13.99rrp) and Blu-ray (£15.99rrp) from Curzon/Artificial Eye on 23rd May