Nov 3, 2015

You will be involved in the action.


Grade: B

Director: Sebastian Schipper (Sometime in August)

Screenplay: Schipper, Olivia Neergaard-Holm, Erike Frederic Schulz

Cast: Lala Costa (I Want You), Frederick Lau (Coming In)

Rating: NR

Runtime: 138 min.

by John DeSando

I now know I can endure a long movie with a hand–held camera and seemingly no cuts. If the story is involving enough, as it is in Victoria, then I can get used to the shaky camera and overly-long scenes. Add the romance between two attractive leads (think True Romance), and you, too, can withstand 138 minutes of half action and half boredom but never dullness.

The latter is characteristic of the first hour or so, when vacationing Victoria (Lala Costa) meets Berliner Sonne (Frederick Lau) and hooks up with his less-than-attractive buds, ex-cons and thieves, who are about to pull  a heist. The time slowly passes as we accept the ever-present camera and the inevitable lulls in activity normal for anyone’s day, but slow for film drama we are used to being cut.

However, once Victoria buys into the heist, the action, albeit incredible at times, has an energy aided by the camera in parallel motion with the actors.  The adrenalin feels real, the inevitable screw ups and cops arrive, and the denouement is more melodramatic than the gritty main action would portend. Yet the film involves the audience as few others do.

The film is half-full of energy, and if there is to be a payoff for the audience, it is that “the best-laid plans. . .” and the chance stuff feel right. The main actors, Costa and Lau, play older Romeo and Juliet but nonetheless naïve, loving, and cunning.

As fate would have it, most of those who step outside the pale will eventually wish they had not. The heroes carry the passion of their new love without considering its limitations.  That’s true romance: “Romance is everything.” Gertrude Stein

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at