Victoria. Roxy Cinema, Axbridge.
You spend a lot of time in lifts, cars and stumbling along pavements in Sebastian Schipper’s 2015 thriller Victoria. And there’s so much boozing that by the end I’m sure I had a hangover coming on. Played out in real time (so it is claimed in one seamless shot) the drama as a result includes a lot of dull sections while the characters talk nonsense or flirt or booze. And talking of booze the staggering around drunk late at night scenes all add unnecessary length. In short the concept is noble but it needed an editor to make it more taut, tense and tight.
Despite the sluggish and confusing start the actors create believable characters and situations on Victoria’s drunken night out. Laia Costa as the titular character throws up a perfectly good job in a Berlin café to become the only real hard nut in a robbery where the criminal gang fall prey to their own stupidity. Using largely a hand held camera the director propels the audience into the action as though we have tagged along with Victoria, bobbing and ducking in the shoot-out and swaying about in the drug and drink induced scenes.
Despite the one shot concept and realist viewpoint the moral behind the plot is simple and universal: bad things happen to those who commit crime. They may start off with a bit of light-hearted shoplifting but it ends with in kidnapping, violence and death.
For those who don’t like sub-titles or don’t speak German there’s no problem as the body language tells you everything and the characters speak in broken English and German and even snatches of Spanish. If they can muddle through and rob a bank without more a few shrugs and snatches of teutonic-anglo-saxon – then so can you. The climax is gripping, grim and gruesome – and just about worth the slow build up.
The film was reviewed at the Axbridge Roxy Community Cinema. For more details of their films visit www.axbridgeroxy.org.uk