Victoria ★★★★

Filming a 138 minutes long one-take movie is an incredible achievement and I am glad and positively surprised that this is a German production (the modern German film industry isn´t exactly known for being innovative and taking risks). The amount of planning, rehearsing, dedication, and concentration this project required had to be enormous. But it was worth it. The one-take approach is not only awe-inspiring in itself, it also creates an immensely immersive atmosphere and together with the natural acting, believable characters, and improvised dialogue, it makes the film feel extremely authentic. Even the imperfections and small mistakes that come with the approach only enhance the authenticity, in my opinion.

The plot is neither complex nor original, but it is engaging, nonetheless. There are funny, tender, tense, and tragic scenes and every emotion is felt very deeply, especially the second half of the film is a nerve-wracking and heart-wrenching thriller. The Berlin setting is used in a great way and the combination of stunning cinematography and beautiful music creates a few goosebumps moments.

But heart and soul of the film are the characters. They are interesting and feel like real people. And their development over the 138 minutes is amazing and feels natural. The standouts are Frederick Lau and Laia Costa, who also have incredibly chemistry. Lau is one of the best German actors working today and he shows it once again with his performance. Costa plays the most fascinating character of the movie, title character Victoria. She is cute, spontaneous, free-spirited, tender, but also much tougher than you would expect at first. We feel very close to her but she also kind of remains an enigma, since the motivation and reasoning behind her actions are not always clear. Why is she so quickly on board with the whole situation? I can´t say for sure, but that makes her even more interesting, in my opinion. She definitely is a character that will stay I my mind.

“Victoria” is a captivating, intense, artistically stunning, and emotionally rewarding cinematic experience. It´s more than a gimmick film (though the gimmick is very impressive on its own) and comes highly recommended.

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