Think back and picture the craziest night out you have ever had, got it? Now times that by 10 and throw in a bank heist…
Spanish cafe worker Victoria (Costa) meets 4 Berliners on a night out and sparks up an unlikely friendship. Things take a sudden twist however when ex convict Boxer (Rogowski) must return a favour for the man who offered him protection in prison. The favour is specified as a 4 person job and with one of the 4 men smashed out of his mind on drugs, Victoria reluctantly takes his place.
The USP of Victoria is that it is filmed entirely in one take, no cut-aways, no clever sweeps to disguise scene changes this is the real deal. This is extremely impressive and to my knowledge has never been done to this extent. The film is 2 hours 18 minutes and doesn’t break shot once. This daring style of film making was a risk reward and puts the viewer in the shoes of a silent and invisible character. You feel totally immersed in the world and almost one of the characters. The camera crew were easily the stars of this film and deserve all the praise they have gained.
You are with the cast from start to finish, the audience travels through night clubs, rides in the backs of cars, inside posh hotels and even through a hail of gunfire. This makes for an unrivalled level of intimacy between audience and the characters as we are with Victoria through every decision and consequence. I truly connected with the people on screen, I cared for Victoria, felt sympathy for Sonne and I truly feared Boxer.
Victoria’s pacing is a nail-biting slow burn, we loiter the streets and hangout on rooftops with the cast for at least the first half of the film. Things instantly pick up once the job gets under way, this was relatable in the way that snap decisions can have huge consequences. These decisions may seem insignificant at the time but they make way for larger and more dangerous ones to follow. This constant ramping up of tension and danger made for an exciting but at times harrowing watch. The film constantly made me question what I would do in certain situations and because the audience is essentially along for the ride we see the and feel the impact first hand.
A few people may take issue with the handheld style of film, however for the most part this was handled confidently. The pans were short and snappy without having that nauseating effect like in other productions. Another issue that may put people of is the subtitles, The character of Victoria is Spanish but speaks English throughout the film. The 4 Berliners however sometimes quickly transition from German to a thick accented English. This was sometimes difficult to keep pace with during the action sequences but not enough to break immersion.
By the end of the feature I could of sworn I had partied till 4 am, been in a high speed chase and felt the effects of cocaine all in the space of a couple of hours. I was really there, the film just convinced me and pulled me in from the outset. The bar has been well and truly raised.
Victoria reminds me why I fell in love with cinema, the connection to characters, the range of emotions and to ultimately the feeling of losing myself in another world. This is a daring and bold piece of film making that pushes the boundaries and raises the bar for technical achievement. A true gem and worthy of being called a masterpiece.
‘Victoria’ Stars: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski, Burak Yigit
A Kind of Kidnapping – Dark Comedy with Politics
Written and directed by Dan Clark, this fairly star studded independent film follows a young couple who are stuck in a financial situation, and decide to kidnap a sleazy conservative politician in order to receive a ransom, that will allow them to escape their static lives.
Patrick Baladi (The Office) plays Hardy our creepy politician, Kelly Wenham (Double Date) plays Maggie, a complex woman who seemingly is always drawn to the “bad boy”, Jack Parry-Jones (The Crown) plays Brian our voice of reason within all of this, or is he?
The character development is well written and allows the space for character arcs, unlike a lot of small films, where there isn’t that room in the script. The three main leads feel very grounded and familiar, everyone knows someone like this in their life or perhaps public figures in the media.
The performances of the main three lead actors are great, if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think this film would work as well. Alongside the strong performances, the editing of the film helped to navigate this non-linear plot and allowed the film to peel aways the layers of backstory which all helped to create a stronger character driven piece.
As the film was nearing the final act, it felt as though it was dragging a little. Dan Clark mentioned in the Q&A after the screening how this was a short film before and I can definitely see how it could work in a confined setting really well. Maybe there was a bit of padding in second to third act to reach that feautre length requirement that didn’t aid certain character moments.
If you want to hear my full thoughts, the best thing to do is check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your thoughts in the comments.
When independent film is fighting for its life, A Kind of Kidnapping is the light in the dark. This is one of the better British produced indie films I’ve seen in a long time.
A Kind of Kidnapping is out on digital on 24th July on iTunes, Amazon, Google and Sky.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the [series/movie/etc] being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Ms. Davis’ Close Friend | Film Review
This short film written and directed by Richard Schertzer tackles the themes of mortality, loneliness, and memory through the perspective of the main character Marina Davis (Danette lllig), a breast cancer patient.
Marina is visited by her carer, Katie (Kike Ayodeji), who lends warmth to her character and provides a ray of hope for Marina’s daily struggle. Marina’s sole family is her son John (Donald Imm), who is away for college and on a trip to China, so she can only video contact him, which adds to Marina’s loneliness. Then Angel of Death (Trey G. Riley), an enigmatic figure, enters the picture. This causes her to ponder life and death, as well as what will happen beyond.
The film’s primary highlight employs a sombre colour scheme to depict the protagonist’s sorrowful mood. The sceneries are mostly grey, black, and white in colouration. The lack of colour suggests that the character has lost interest and enjoyment in life, seeing everything as drab and depressing. Instead of informing the audience how the character feels through speech or narrative, the film uses this visual technique to show the audience how the character feels.
Marina is placed in the centre of the frame by the director (Schertzer) to illustrate how she is the major focus, but also how the other characters swirl around her. Despite the fact that the tale solely takes place within the structure, Schertzer captures the audience’s attention with unique views, angle frames, and music soundtrack. While the concepts are similar to the Netflix series After Life (2019-2020), the short film allows the spectator to empathise with the character’s emotions.
‘Wednesday’ Co-Stars Jenna Ortega and Percy Hynes White to Star in Romance Film ‘Winter Spring Summer or Fall’
Even the folks at Netflix couldn’t have thought that Wednesday would turn into the hit that it did. The Addams Family property is one that many in the cultural zeitgeist are aware of, however, many would be hard pressed to believe that the mythology within that franchise is as rich as Tim Burton has been able to make it with the series. One of the reasons for that is for Jenna Ortega who plays the titular Wednesday Addams, and she has lined up her next project.
According to an exclusive from Deadline, Ortega will re-team with Percy Hynes White, who plays Xavier Thorpe on Wednesday for the romantic drama, Winter Spring Summer or Fall. The film will be the directorial debut of Tiffany Paulsen with Ortega serving as an executive producer on the project. Winter Spring Summer or Fall is described as Before Sunrise meets The Perks of Being a Wallflower following two teens coming-of-age into adulthood who meet and fall in love over four days throughout the year in all four seasons, hence the title of the flick.
Ortega has been skyrocketing to stardom due to Wednesday but has had a massive year in film and television. The young Latina was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in the Netflix original but also starred in horror films Scream 5 and X in 2022. She’ll next be seen in Scream 6 which hits theaters in March 2023. The highly in-demand actress will also star in a crime thriller for Paramount titled Finest Kind alongside Ben Foster and Tommy Lee Jones as well as Miller’s Girl for Lionsgate where she’ll star with Martin Freeman. Ortega’s co-star Hynes White is best known for his lead role in Fox’s X-Men based series, The Gifted where he played Andy Strucker.
Paulsen is best known for writing the Netflix holiday rom com Holidate which starred Emma Roberts. Additionally, Paulsen also wrote About Fate which stars Roberts, Thomas Mann, Madelaine Petsch and Britt Robertson which is streaming currently on Amazon.
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