FILM by Jorge Ignacio Castillo

RPL Film Theatre
January 21-24
1 out of 5

More often than not, gimmicky movies fail to transcend the stunt that validates their existence. Rope, Alfred Hitchcock’s real-time thriller, is by far the master of suspense’s weakest entry (there is no intrigue to speak of). Run Lola Run — ground-breaking a decade ago — hasn’t aged well, mainly because it doesn’t have a decent plot to sustain the videogame-like premise.

Victoria suffers of the same problem. A two-hour, 18 minutes one-shot wonder, the German flick suffers from predictable problems (no sense of rhythm, barely acceptable cinematography, boredom) and scriptwriting ineptitude (a female character so devoid of common sense it defies plausibility).

The Victoria in question is a Spanish student on a working holiday in Berlin. The clueless, utterly trusting girl gets involved with four suspicious-looking characters who try to pick her up at a club. Victoria tags along with the belligerent lowlifes in increasingly risky undertakings, culminating on a bank robbery. As you do.

The problem with the character is her disregard for her own safety, particularly when a self-destructive personality hasn’t been established. She ignores more red flags than a colour-blind tourist at a parade in China.

The very flimsy plot doesn’t justify a movie 138 minutes long, especially when half of it is dedicated to a sluggish courtship that wants to be Before Sunrise but is closer to your average creeper’s Saturday night.

Director Sebastian Schipper has acknowledged he didn’t have a script, just a twelve-page treatment to work from. This is not much different than going out with your friends and recording them with your smartphone (especially if said friends are inept criminals).

The critical fawning over Victoria is most baffling.