Berlin Syndrome: Film Review

Berlin Syndrome was high on my list of films to watch at the Berlin Film Festival but none of the screenings matched up to my schedule and I was gutted. My sense that I was missing out on a good movie was spot-on though because Berlin Syndrome is great.

Teresa Palmer plays Claire, an Australian who has jacked in her job to do some travelling around Germany. While in Berlin, she literally bumps into local teacher Andi (Max Riemelt) and changes her tour schedule to spend more time with him. He brings her back to his place – in an abandoned apartment block – and they hook up. However, when Claire tries to leave the next morning, she realises she’s been locked in….

I never really thought of Palmer as a good actress because she’s never really had the opportunity to show that until now. Sure, she’s had decent support parts in Warm Bodies and Hacksaw Ridge but here she’s the lead and really has a chance to shine. Claire goes through the gamut of emotions while being held captive and she navigates them well and with a certain restraint. I wasn’t aware of Riemelt’s work but he did a good job of making Andi human and not a stereotypical evil captor. He still seems so normal, like all the twisted things he was doing was just so casual to him and he didn’t adopt a sociopath-type persona but he obviously was one!

The film is intense, exciting and shocking in places. I was so tense with anticipation I genuinely did a really loud and embarrassing gasp at one point. The pace did flag after a while as the months dragged by and nothing really seemed to happen and I was getting anxious for things to tie up but it all builds up to a really exciting end. Not quite as dramatic as I wanted it to be (didn’t get quite the pay off I was after) but still satisfying enough.

In cinemas Friday 9th June

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