In a new movie called “Victoria,” director Sebastian Schipper and cast present a one-take, 138-minute travesty of cinema trying to pass as an artistic achievement.
“Victoria” made me sick to my stomach. It’s exceedingly rare that one can use this expression correctly for both its meanings. For public safety, the back of the cinema seats where this long… long… long… movie is shown must be equipped with a pouch, just like commercial aircraft seats, with emesis bags. The movie was shot without any stabilized cameras, and the shaking images made me queasy to the point where periodically I had to cover my eyes. For full transparency, what I did occasionally see was through the slits between my fingers (regrettably, the full-blast-volume sound came through exceedingly clear).
The plot is a Home Depot-conceived impossible sequence of improbabilities that abortively combine a Spanish musical idiot savant, four dim-witted Berliners and an overflowing Spree-like river of low self-esteem. It’s something a high school cinema class teacher would condescendingly relegate to a participation ribbon. Why an apparently well-organized and cunningly ruthless criminal master mind would trust the Berlin version of the “Three Stooges” accompanied by a reluctant Little Red Ridding Hood to rob a bank is beyond comprehension. And then — undoubtedly as kudos to the feminist empowerment movement — “Little Red” becomes the Big Bad Wolf. Better yet, when the free-flowing script gets too complex, somebody conveniently dies.
To recover (literally) I stayed for the Q&A following the preview. The director kept praising the young main actor for her “talent,” which reinforced my impression that he should review his career options.
And for those who may ask why I didn’t leave the theater before this DIY production ended — it’s because my wife had the car keys.
—Ekphrasis Rex, Culture Spot LA