An experiment that looks better on paper than it does on the screen. When you go to extremes there are compromises. This film was apparently shot in one take with no lighting added at all. That means the camera’s sensor was pushed past the breaking point, and the film looks awful visually in a lot of places. The noise is heightened and image quality is poor. it is also shaky as hell, and too claustrophobic, pushed into the faces.
Another issue with this grand strategy is that you can’t cut. When nothing is happening besides moving from one place to another it happens in real time, and it drags.
The obvious response to Victoria is Birdman, which was lit masterfully by Emmanuel Lubezki, and although Birdman appears to take place in real time, there are sly cuts that allow for resetting and repeating the performances.
Victoria flounders in the beginning. Characterization is poor, as the group of guys are nearly indistinguishable from one another. It comes on at the end with a decent twist or two. I would have liked it better if it was edited with a few cuts and lit to bare minimum levels of acceptability. The images found online don’t really demonstrate the problems I’ve mentioned…
What was remarkable were the performances, including the little bit parts that come in later on. The entire world is realized in a several-block area of Berlin, and the staging is tight. If you’re into rough, indie crime thrillers you will want to see it. I can’t see it taking home any statues however.
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