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Wednesday, Oct 14 2015
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From a technical point of view, there's no question that Sebastian Schipper's Victoria is an astonishing achievement. Its 138 minutes are shot in a single continuous take, throughout multiple locations in the wee small hours of Berlin. The chases and stunt work are particularly impressive, considering they had one chance to get it right. The story follows toothsome young Spaniard Veronica (Laia Costa), who hooks up with a German named Sonne (Frederick Lau) in an after-hours nightclub. Throwing common sense to the wind, Victoria follows Sonne and his ne'er-do-well broheims into the city, volunteering as their getaway driver after a bank heist. Aside from certain sound effects and a gorgeous organ-drone score by Nils Frahm, everything looks to be happening in front of the constantly moving camera with no editing tricks. Of course, there are stretches during the first hour that would have benefited from editorial pruning, such as one interminable scene of Veronica and Sonne bonding over a piano. But the cast acquits themselves well. Costa, who at first seems to have been cast more for her photogenic qualities than her acting chops, commands the screen in the third act. And best of all, she gets to wear comfortable, sensible clothes for a night of traipsing around Berlin.


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