Victoria: a one-take thrill ride through night-time Berlin

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

One take, 138 minutes. From a strobe-lit club to a pale Berlin dawn, Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria plays out in real time over the course of a single eventful night.

Twenty-something Spanish barista Victoria (Laia Costa), drinking alone at a bar, hooks up with a gang of happy-go-lucky chancers, including punch-drunk Brando-alike Sonne (Frederick Lau).…

A War loses sight of its dramatic conflict amid the haze of moral relativism

2 Stars (2 / 5)

 

Few scenarios lend themselves to dramatization better than the battlefield and the courtroom.

The blood and chaos of the former; the eloquence and order of the latter. What Tobias Lindholm’s recent Best Foreign Language nominee, A War, does is reveal the paradox of trying to impose the process of law after the fact.…

Son of Saul recasts the Holocaust as Bruegelian nightmare

5 Stars (5 / 5)

 

In Son of Saul, first-time director László Nemes gets us right up in the face of Saul Ausländer (poet-turned-actor Géza Röhrig).

Saul’s powerful features and dark eyes give him a sharp, watchful look. As a Hungarian Jew, and member of a Sonderkommando work unit at Auschwitz, it pays to be watchful.…

Partisan is a film with allegory issues

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

A grey curve of mountain road. A forested valley overshadowed by dilapidated tower blocks. A dog howls, off.

Nonspecific in its exact time and place, though vaguely Baltic in its devastation, the inhospitable landscape into which Partisan immerses us makes a strong case for any sort of alternative, as offered by Vincent Cassel’s Gregori.…

The Wave (2015) starts as a tsunami and turns into a washout

2.5 Stars (2.5 / 5)

 

You may remember Dennis Gansel’s The Wave (Die Welle), a fictionalised take on The Third Wave, which saw a group of high school students established their own fascist dictatorship as part of a social experiment.

The Tribe envelops you in a world of silence

4 Stars (4 / 5)

 

What makes a film “brave”? Is it telling a type of story that hasn’t been told before? Is it doing something innovative technically? By either definition, The Tribe is brave film-making.

The feature debut of Ukrainian writer-director Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, it takes place in a time and place where sound is, by and large, irrelevant, and features “No translation, no subtitles, no voice-over”, only sign language.…

Timbuktu is a journey into the heart of everyday extremism

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

 

As issues go there are few more topical or red-button than Islamic fundamentalism.

Therefore it makes it all the more impressive that Abderrahmane Sissako’s new film, Timbuktu, manages to tackle it with such integrity and even humour.…