• Jasmine Holly Bullock

Victoria: Film Review

Victoria is a 2015 German film about a Spanish girl, named Victoria, who has just moved to Berlin. Victoria is somewhat lonely and has yet to make any friends in Germany. However, all that changes when she meets three men on a night out. For the next 2 hours, we see Victoria’s relationship grow with these men as she ends up joining them on their unexpected, unsafe and illegal escapades for the night.

Firstly, I adored the soundtrack for this film. ‘Our Own Roof’ and ‘Them’, both composed by Nils Frahm, are beautiful scores which largely feature the piano. These songs are so elegant and calming, and ‘Them’ is rather uplifting. The opening of this film is accompanied by the song ‘Burn With Me (Victoria Edit)’ by DJ Koze, which is more of a club instrumental. The opening song helped the film get off to a good start, as a viewer, this song was getting me pumped for whatever was about to happen. I strongly recommend listening to the above mentioned songs, they’re great!

However, the thing that blew me away the most about this film is the fact that it was all shot in ONE TAKE with ONE CAMERA. The whole piece was filmed continuously, making the cinematography super smooth, like in Birdman (2015) and 1917 (2019) except the seamlessness is genuine in this case. There are not many films that are shot in one single take and the budget for Victoria allowed for only 3 takes to be shot. This whole project must have required a lot of skill on the part of the cameraman as well as a huge amount of planning and organisation. I have a huge amount of respect for the director, Sebastian Schipper, as well as all those involved in this project for being able to organise and execute a film with such high ambitions.

Although, there were bound to be some mistakes in a project that uses natural lighting, one camera, one shot and no studio space. Quite significant mistakes, such as being able to see the cameraman’s shadow on the wall in one scene, were made. I can imagine this sight would be off-putting to see in a film but, in all honesty, I didn’t notice this error... it was pointed out to me by someone else. I think errors like this will only be spotted by some viewers who are paying close attention to things that aren’t the main focus of a shot.

What was similarly impressive about Victoria was that the dialogue was improvised, which actually made the performances come off as more naturalistic! There was no definitive script, only essential plot points and relationships were made clear to the actors. Admittedly, some moments are drawn out and the dialogue isn’t always eloquent. Also, there were some verbal continuity mistakes, but they were mostly small things that didn’t affect the plot or characters. There are even continuity mistakes with projects that are scripted, so considering that this wasn’t scripted at all; it’s understandable to an extent.

Furthermore, speaking from experience, improvising is a true skill and a hard one to master and so one must give props to the actors and their ability to react to one another and their environment. In instances of improvisation, the chemistry between cast members needs to be incredible, and they certainly were in Victoria.

I was not disappointed by a single member of the cast in this film; all of them gave a believable and captivating performance. The most impressive of the bunch were the leads, Laia Costa (as Victoria) and Frederick Lau (as Sonne). Both Lau and Costa were able to show a wide range of emotions that took the audience on a journey. Lau’s character was the most endearing and this was largely due to his delivery and behaviourisms. Additionally, Costa highlighted skills other than acting when she played the piano in one of the scenes, which was extraordinary to see.

Despite the mistakes made, Victoria was a remarkably accomplished feat of a project. This is a must see for any film buff who can appreciate the effort and skill that has gone into the making of this film. Even people not interested in the production specifics would enjoy the film. Victoria won 6 awards at the Berlin Film Awards in 2015, the awards were for: Best Feature Film, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, Direction, and Music. The accolades of this film were well deserved and truly show how great of a film Victoria is!

RATING: ★★★★★


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