For Victoria (Laia Costa) a night out in Berlin turns in a tumultuous one as she becomes entangled in a debt owed by a newly found friend. To pay the debt owed to one of Berlin’s most notorious underground criminals, the gang must rob a bank but without proper planning its doesn’t go entirely smoothly.
Like a select few films before it (the Uruguayan horror film Silent House and Russian Ark, for example) the German thriller Victoria is shot in one continuous take (contrary to popular belief Alfred Hitchcock’s 1948 Rope is not shot in one continuous take). At a length of 140 minutes Victoria is one of the longer single, continuous take films, the length of the film makes the technical brilliance and proficiency of those involved even more impressive.
The technical brilliance of the film is something to marvel at as its certainly impressive filmmaking but impressive doesn’t always make for a great story or an involving film. The Reverent was an impressive film but the story was as cold and distant as the environments it was set. Victoria, however, is a gripping and exciting film. Shot in real time, it shows how quickly the characters must adapt to each new scenario, and how they change quickly over a short period of time.
The film does take time to get into the nuts and bolts of the main story but the build up to this works exceptionally well as we become accustomed to and grow to even like the five main players, we even believe in the relationships they share. Laia Costa gets one powerful scene where Victoria talks about how she failed to become a successful pianist whilst wishing her classmates to fail (highlighting perfectly that it’s impossible to build friendships in an environment where your competing against one another). It’s scenes like this, and the chemistry built between the five major players, that does what any level of technical brilliance can't do and that's ensuring the story is engaging.
This type of filmmaking has its limitations as it doesn’t allow for a wide ranging, all-encompassing story but instead it allows us to focus on a particular group and enjoy the effective chemistry the actors share, particularly the four friends who give the impression that they’ve been friends for years. Laia Costa’s performance as Victoria, who quickly adapts to the situations as well as the men, is exceptional as she brilliantly shows how her character change over the course of her eventful night in the German capital.