At the start of the film “Victoria,” the viewer sees the title character, portrayed by BAFTA nominee Laia Costa, (Newness) dancing alone in a nightclub in Berlin, Germany. Throughout the film’s 138 minute runtime, the camera never deviates from showing Victoria’s point of view. When she is finished for the evening, on her way out of the club, she is approached by Sonne, played by Frederick Lau. He is there with three of his friends: Boxer (Franz Rogowski), Blinker (Burak Yigit), and Fuss (Max Mauff). Victoria, a native of Madrid, Spain, has been living and working in a cafe in Berlin for the past three months. She hasn’t built up many friendships, and is yearning for some fun, so she opts to socialize with the four friends for a while, primarily Sonne.
The five talk on the roof top of a building, where they shouldn’t be in the first place. As they talk, they drink beers they had stolen a few minutes earlier from a convenience store, while the elderly cashier slept behind the counter. Victoria, has to leave her new friends, so she can go and get a few hours sleep at the cafe before opening it for business in the morning. Sonne accompanies her to the cafe, and through conversation, they learn more about one another, as Victoria demonstrates her skills while playing “Mephisto Waltz” by Franz Liszt on the piano. She tells Sonne that she wanted to become a classical pianist, but with few opportunities, and the intense competition she fell short, at least for the moment, of realizing her dream. The two agree to see one another again. Within seconds of confirming their mutual attraction, Victoria and Sonne, are joined by Boxer and the other friends; they need Sonne to leave with them immediately. The men get in a stolen car and drive away, only to return a short while later because Fuss is sick, and will be of no help for what the friends have planned.
Boxer, as it turns out, has spent time in jail, and while incarcerated he bartered for his protection with Andi, (André Hennicke) a well-connected crime boss. Boxer needs to pull a bank robbery for Andi, as repayment for keeping him safe while locked up. The job requires three men inside the bank, as well as a getaway driver. Fuss, having consumed too much alcohol is too sick to work. The job, however, can’t be done with less than four people. Sonne talks to Victoria, and it doesn’t take a lot of convincing on his part, before she winds up agreeing to drive the get-away-car.
Leaving Fuss at the cafe, the four leave to meet with Andi in a parking garage. While there, however, as Andi explains the particulars of the bank robbery in the presence of his gun-toting crew, Victoria realizes the exceptional danger she has willingly placed herself in. After the meeting, the slow-moving, character establishment faze of the first part of the film, gives way to a frenetic pace, for the remainder of its runtime. Instead of providing more plot details, I’ll leave it for you to experience if you decide to watch the movie.
“Victoria,” a German film with English subtitles, was directed by Sebastian Schipper (Run Lola Run). Schipper along with Olivia Neergaard-Holm (David Lynch: The Art Life), and Eike Frederik Schulz (Nachtwächter), are credited with the story, which roughly amounted to a twelve-page outline. The reason for that, is that there was no screenplay for the film. “Victoria” was shot over three consecutive nights in one single continuous take; the third take of the film, is what the viewer sees. The cast, which is uniformly good, did a fine job of improvising the majority of what is shown on screen, utilizing only the ideas of what needed to take place in the film from the outline. Schipper filmed without permits or permission, and his crew, would routinely ask people walking on the street to kindly take a different route, so as not to interfere with shooting. Overall, while I think portions of the film could’ve, and more than likely would’ve, been edited out, if it had been shot in a traditional manner, it was, for the most part, especially the scenes that take place after the meeting with the crime boss, an entertaining watch.