While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photojournalist Clare meets Andi, a charismatic local man, and there is an instant attraction between them. A night of passion ensues. But what initially appears to be the start of a romance suddenly 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. An easy mistake to make, of course, except Andi has no intention of letting her go again. Ever.
The apartment that Clare is trapped in is based on a real one, in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood of Berlin. Director Cate Shortland: "It was a 50- or 60-apartment building with [only] about eight apartments occupied. But all of our young people are flocking there. It's kind of a beautiful idea, wanting to get out and explore, and hoping the artistic and cultural dynamic of the city will rub off on you. It's a place with a lot of community feeling, but in winter it's also an incredibly monstrous, grey, miserable place." [The Guardian. June 2017] See more »
It is improbable for Andi to liberate his impaled hand from a screwdriver without any sharp edge the way he did. See more »
What would be the worst thing I could ever do to you? Don't worry... I would never do it. We are a team.
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So what we have here, is Fifty Shades of Stockholm Syndrome (Google it if you're unsure what that is, the film will make more sense knowing the definition).
Right off the top, waaaay too slowly paced. I get it, it needed to be a little slow, but not 2 hours (that felt like 3) of slow. Had I watched this film at least 1.25x faster speed, and edited properly, it would have been more enjoyable, and shorter.
The directing was OK, the writing needed tweaking (e.g. the ending was too stale for all that tension that was built up) but the cinematography was on point.
The best part of this film was Teresa Palmer in her role... she aced it. Very convincing and played her emotional roller-coaster well. Max Riemelt was stale and I felt his role should have been cast better or he shouldn't have been as 'flat' as he was. The director needed to direct his role better as he was unconvincing.
The screenplay (combined in part with the score) was the only other positive attribute of this film. The tension was constant, and just when you relaxed, it got built up again.
There were however many plot holes - specifically the amount of defensive weapons available for escaping, such as the heavy pots on the stove, glass from any of the two broken windows that she could have hid pieces and slit his throat while he was sleeping etc... and unnecessary sub-plots (e.g. his dad, the parts when other women touched him and he portrayed a germaphobe).
A few ill-informed reviewers stated it was an independent film, of which it was not. Having production companies left right and center backing it such as: Aquarius Films, DDP Studios, Entertainment One, Film Victoria, Fulcrum Media Finance, Memento Films International, Photoplay Film, Screen Australia, and distributed by Entertainment One, Curzon Artificial Eye, Vertical Entertainment and Netflix... it's clearly not an independent film. For a B-type film with that type of backing, it needed to be much better in my opinion.
So rating it as a B-type film, it's a generous 6/10 from me.
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