Victoria

Victoria ★★★★½

More than a gimmick, but man, what a gimmick! I think it generates a subtle effect of projecting its long real-time overnight journey onto the viewer, so we rather closely feel the highs and lows of it, the what's-next giddiness and flirtation of the early going, the kind of sexual release, lost-in-pleasure dance club interludes that bookend the adventure, and the exhaustion and uncontrollable emotional exhale at the end. If you've ever stayed up all night with friends and/or taken your chances wandering the city, this movie evokes so many recognizable sensations common to such freewheeling escapades with its virtual reality staging and nuanced beats.

Sure, this one happens to play out more like "Reservoir Dogs" than any unplanned shenanigans most of us have embarked upon, but the elements of crime and violence are played almost as realistically as everything else. Things don't play out in the same rhythms or with the same heightened reality that you're used to from similar movies. The movie manages to bittersweetly romanticize this adventure without turning into a Hollywood-style glamorous fantasy version of these events. It's adept at twirling from moments of propulsive mischief to euphoric escapism to quiet, awkward bonding sessions to blunt, sudden repercussions to aching tragedy even though none of those fleeting tones ever defines the experience. It's a movie with great range, deep feeling, an epic sort of first-person POV narrative, and extraordinary filmmaking skill.

Oh and note to self: keep an eye on star Laia Costa. She owns the role and arguably the whole movie. Really magnetic breakthrough performance

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