Victoria is an intense, gut-wrenching experience filled with suspense. Director Sebastian Schipper makes the intelligent choice to use one shot for the entire film, forcing us to be right beside the characters as they undertake a dangerous journey. What we don’t see is just as thrilling as what we do.
Unlike most bank heist movies, which value a fast pace from beginning to end, Victoria is patient and methodical. The movie takes its time in establishing its characters and making us care for them. We are intrigued by a troublesome group of four guys with their cheekiness and affinity for trouble; we laugh along with them as they joke and tease each other. Much like the lead character Victoria (Laia Costa) is, we are introduced to them and become friends with them over the course of the night.
The chemistry of the five main characters is what makes this movie as good as it is. We don’t feel apprehension as Victoria meets these four loud guys for the first time. The flirtation between her and Sonne (Frederick Lau) seems easy and natural. As they break small laws, we don’t feel that they are bad people; this is why the level of danger these characters end up in is so jolting.
Viewers empathize with all the characters involved and never feel the need to judge them, because ultimately an unfortunate combination of elements forced otherwise good people into a terrible situation. As ridiculous as it seems, it is never completely implausible that all the characters are involved in a robbery. Schnipper is brilliant at increasing pace and suspense at the right moments; from the moment a night of fun and mischief turns bad, for instance, the pace increases and the energy of the movie spikes. We run through a series of emotions ranging from discomfort to horror.
Although the shaky camera moved at a dizzying speed at times, we get to fully appreciate the brilliance of using one shot at the climax of the film. This wild thriller ends with a messy, heartbreaking scene, where Costa’s acting talent shines.