Review: A backpacker becomes a captive in murky thriller Berlin Syndrome
- Credit: Curzon Artificial Eye
A one-night stand becomes a nightmarish ordeal for one unsuspecting young woman in director Cate Shortland's psychological thriller, adapted from Melanie Joosten's novel.
Berlin Syndrome (15)
Young Australian tourist Clare (Teresa Palmer) is a keen photographer, who is backpacking around Germany, capturing images of the majestic architecture and local landscapes for her portfolio.
Clare is not your standard brash Aussie backpacker. As she takes photos of DDP landmarks during her stay in Berlin she tries to remains wary and cautious, but subconsciously her fear and uncertainty are putting out feelers that will gain the attention of teacher Andi (Max Riemelt), who likes to pull foreign tourists and then lock them away in his apartment in a deserted block.
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Convinced that Andi has accidentally forgotten to leave her a key, Clare stays in the apartment until he returns when she discovers that her incarceration was no accident.
Andi intends to keep her as his prisoner, even stealing the SIM card from her mobile phone so she is unable to call for help. Held hostage by a man, who thinks their living arrangement is completely normal, Clare must secretly plot her escape.
- 1 Work started on four new homes without permission
- 2 Woman has heart attack and dies in ambulance waiting for a hospital bed
- 3 Murder investigation launched after body of man found in Norwich flat
- 4 Jets heard roaring over Norwich for training exercise
- 5 Flight bound for Norwich turns back to Aberdeen
- 6 Christmas craft, food and gift fair returning to Norfolk estate
- 7 Holt Hall for sale after years of uncertainty
- 8 Norwich mum and daughter duo shed 12st
- 9 Man dies after medical emergency on beach
- 10 Crews tackle huge Fens blaze
The narrative's central conceit is wondering how close Berlin's Syndrome is to Stockholm's: is Clare just playing along with Andi to survive or has she really submitted to his will?
The film has a dreadful intimacy. Director Cate Shortland uses lots of close ups and handheld camera to suggest her protagonist's isolation, how tenuous her connections are to her surroundings.
Palmer's tremendous performance means we feel everything. She is an open book, her captor less so. Probably there wouldn't be much to read: a children's book written in big, difficult words that he doesn't understand.