Monday, 28 March 2016
Shot in real time (obviously) on a brutal, early Berlin morning, Victoria begins with the violent flashing of a nightclub strobe light; it's an assault on your eyeballs for sure, but as such it's merely softening you up for what's to come. Schipper, with cinematographer and partner-in-crime Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, latch on to a girl (Laia Costa) dancing in the club and stick to her like glue for the next two hours. We watch, protectively and uncomfortably, as she strikes up conversation with a gang of obviously no-good #lads, taking a shine to their most charismatic member (Frederick Lau). There's a sense that fates are sealed from this moment, and as much as you want her to turn round and go home, you 're stuck with the inevitable, devastating consequences that follow.
Laia Costa's performance, meanwhile, is mind-bogglingly impressive. It's a piece of pure theatre; Victoria's arc is ridiculously ambitious, but Costa sells it without a whiff of fakery. There are moments when it's easy to snort a derisory "well, she wouldn't do that", but how do we know? We only just met her. Lau's character Sonne, meanwhile, undertakes a polar opposite journey, meeting Victoria in the middle as their lives change forever under the dawn of a literal and figurative new day.