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'Victoria' review: A cinematographic rush

Laia Costa in

Laia Costa in "Victoria." Credit: TNS / Adopt Films

In "Victoria," a solitary young woman dances in a packed nightclub, runs into some shady characters, goes to a party on a roof, is taken to a meeting with gangsters, is forced to take drugs, plays Liszt on the piano, participates in a bank heist, loses the car keys, finds the car keys, the whole gang goes into a panic, they all run for their lives -- and the camera never stops.

In 2002, Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov created "Russian Ark," a fantastical, 99-minute art-and-history tour of the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, out of a single, flowing, uninterrupted camera shot, a feat made possible only by digital cameras. In 1998, Tom Tykwer made "Run Lola Run," a kinetic thriller in which the German star, Franka Potente (later of "The Bourne Identity"), seemed to never stop moving. Somewhere between those two lies "Victoria," Sebastian Schipper's combination caper film and character study, a movie with no cuts, and no seams, plenty of action and which happens to be a cinematic tour de force. Sure, it's a stunt. But the stunt happens to work.

Schipper, who wrote the film with Olivia Neergaard-Holm and Eike Frederik Schulz, has at his disposal an extraordinary Spanish actress, Laia Costa, whose title character is so full of energy, grace and intelligence that she bewilders. Why would Victoria allow herself to get mixed up with the likes of Sonne (Frederick Lau) and the rest of his disreputable cronies, much less agree to be their getaway driver, and for an ill-planned robbery that's only going to get them 50,000 euros? Ah well, you can't have everything, and in "Victoria" you at least have Costa, and a display of camera work by cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grovlen that is strictly virtuosic, and makes the blood rush.


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