Berlin Syndrome Reviews
This beautifully acted film diligently explores isolation and fear through an abusive relationship and “abnormal” man’s need to control and dominate while exploring Clare’s creepy relationship with her captor
The pace is so unhurried, and Shortland captures so much of the passing time in slow motion and caressing visuals, that it takes away from how humiliating her situation is for Clare.
Dare I say it, even Imtiaz Ali’s Highway, which has one of the most colossally misguided tones – and third acts – in recent memory, managed to convey the slow psychological paradox of being in a relationship with your kidnapper more palatable.
Overall, this one’s creepy and unsettling but will largely appeal to a niche audience, owing to its languid pace and world cinema sensibilities.
Had the screenplay of Berlin Syndrome not taken so many liberties, it could've been a modern classic. Even though it falls short of greatness, it still is head and shoulders above the average thriller.
In spite of a messy conveniently done end-game the film works well as a warning to all single girls travelling along in foreign lands. Please don’t befriend strangers .And if you do, make sure to tell your mother to check on you the next morning.
It’s definitely not a film for the faint hearted, and but those willing to stick with the film for the sluggish first twenty minutes will be rewarded with one of the most memorable thrillers of the year.
The only issue in the film is that the third act feels so rushed, leaving too many logical steps unanswered. Also, the subplot about Andi's relationship with his sick and withholding father goes nowhere interesting and it certainly doesn't explain how he turned into a monster.
Shortland’s film is anti-climactic, burning at a painfully slow pace and never fully coming to a boil.
What really works for Berlin Syndrome is Shortland’s ability to create atmosphere and her untypical handling of a familiar situation. The creepy tone is immersive and doesn’t allow audiences to ever feel truly comfortable, like a good horror story should.