Berlin Syndrome – Movie Review
Words by Kathryn Robertson
The story is a simple one: a traveller’s nightmare. Aussie filmmaker Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome is a captivating, single-take thriller taking place across the streets of Berlin, tapping in to the vulnerability of a woman travelling the world, adjusting to a whole new country and culture, and having to do so all on her own.
Teresa Palmer plays Clare, an Australian photographer holidaying alone in Berlin, where she meets Andi, a charismatic local man who she has an instant attraction and chemistry to. A night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance, takes an unexpected and sinister turn when Clare wakes the following morning to discover Andi has left for work and locked her in his apartment.
From that moment on, to the moment she escapes the apartment, she endures months of physical and psychological torment from her capture, fostering an increasingly icy-cold atmosphere. The film does a great job of building the suspense and tension at a glacial pace; the slow but unstoppable dread.
When the tension does pick up, its edge of your seat stuff over the next hour or so. There are some exhilarating sequences during Clare’s escape attempts, for which director Cate Shortland deserves commending. The highly-engaging performances of both leads Palmer and Riemelt add another layer of suspense to Berlin Syndrome, making the picture a massive success.
2017 | AUS | DIR: Cate Shortland | WRITER: Shaun Grant | CAST: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt, Matthias Habich DISTRIBUTOR: Entertainment One | RUNNING TIME: 116 minutes |