One movie that struck me right from the trailer leading up to the festival was certainly Victoria, as heist movie by the director of Run Lola Run all done in one 2 hour take. If I didn’t already love heist films the technical challenge presented is enough to make me want to see this film so I we ecstatic to have it as my first film on Day 2 of Fantastic Fest. Now that I’m well on the other side of that screening and day I’m happy to bring share with you about this movie.
The plot of the film takes place over the course of 2 hours in the late night/early morning in the city of Berlin. Our focus is the titular Victoria (Laia Costa) who is a girl from Barcelona living in the city working at a café by day and partying by night who meets a group of friendly Berliners Sonne (Fredrick Lau), Boxer (Franz Rogowski), Blinker (Burak Yigit), and Fuss (Max Mauff). Despite the rowdy and boisterous nature of this group and their apparent leader Sonne, Victoria is enamored with them and spends the rest of the night getting to know them and getting closer to Sonne until they get called off to have to do some ominous work. It turns out that while Boxer was in prison he earned a debt with a local mobster that is expected to be paid off through a bank heist, and regrettably Fuss, the driver, is incapacitated so Victoria gets roped in to take his place and gets wrapped up in the crime.
The first thing I really want to talk about here is just the performances presented here as the performances along with the challenge of the shooting style is important. Costa does an exceptionally great job here as she has such a range of emotions that she goes through during the night and feels real throughout the whole film and drives it forward. Lau as well is terrific as he quickly falls head over heels for Victoria and also acts as a leader to his group of friends through this challenging nigh. Rogowski, Yigit and Mauff also play well together feeling truly like close friends, each feeling like an individual just not necessarily shining as brightly as our two main leads but that may largely because they also get a little less focus and time on camera. Overall, the performances they put forth over this two hour period, going non-stop in character is simply fantastic as they need to be on the move and constantly focused beyond even what your normal stage actor has to do.
Now for the technical aspect of being one take and Sebastian Schipper’s direction, that deserves some praise of its own. It is a technical wonder to have done the film this way, taking place across Berlin with generally smooth shots even through the action. It’s known that Schipper can handle action from his past films and honestly those scenes still work well. I will say though there is some weirdness to them as it flows directly into it from the last scene, being all in one take, so it can be frequently a little jarring like that, as can some of the shakier camera work too. Overall though it is a positive experience thank to clearly well planned scenes and some great off screen movie magic that must’ve taken a lot of practice for the cast and crew to execute. If you loved movies like Birdman which play with this idea, though more or less (excellently) fake being one take then you will be still just as engrossed in this, but I can also see how some people might find it annoying or just plain weird to not have a scene formally end with a cut.
Truly a technical feat that deserves your viewership because it just does what it wants to very well with some really good performances to boot. Its been a while since there’s been a heist movie that I feel has this much heart and character and really is just this this pretty to look at too. I don’t know what kind of release Victoria will be getting but if you have the chance to see it I certainly recommend it.