Sunday 7 May 2023

Movie Review: Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Genre: Captivity Drama 
Director: Cate Shortland
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt
Running Time: 115 minutes

Synopsis: Australian amateur photographer Clare (Teresa Palmer) is on a backpacking trip in Berlin. She meets English teacher Andi (Max Riemelt) and they quickly establish a connection. But after a night of passion at his secluded apartment, Clare is unable to leave and realizes she is now Andi's captive.

What Works Well: This variation on familiar themes from movies like The Collector offers a credible introduction, the predator Andi perfecting a charm offensive and Teresa Palmer portraying an appealing victim. The mostly abandoned apartment block in a scroungy corner of Berlin provides a suitable backdrop.

What Does Not Work As Well: After setting the premise, momentum stalls. The second half refuses to reveal much about Andi, a sub-plot involving his father becomes a distraction, Clare is literally and metaphorically stuck in the same space, and many details of the confinement (does Andi ever sleep?) are left unanswered. The final chapter draws in one of Andi's students and is a muddled mess.

Conclusion: Confined imagination contributes to a cramped drama.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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