Berlin Syndrome Film Review – While Claire Is Locked, This One Soars

Berlin Syndrome is a taut psychological thriller from Cate Shortland. We take a closer look at it in our Berlin Syndrome film review.

Berlin Syndrome Film Review

Teresa Palmer plays Claire, a young photographer backpacking in Berlin on her way to Dresden when she runs into an English teacher, Andi played by Max Riemelt. Little does she know that Andi is a psychopath with devious plans. He keeps her housebound for months while Claire tries to escape from his clutches. Not only that, but Andi also abuses her when she doesn't comply.

Clocking at just under two hours, Berlin Syndrome, to its credit, never feels like it is running out of ideas. It keeps you hooked from the start until the end credits. Both Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt deliver solid performances. Riemelt is convincing as a disturbed individual who first seduces tourists with his charming looks and language and then after a night of seduction and passion locks them up in his apartment.

Teresa Palmer who plays the unsuspecting backpacker is impressive. Claire seeks new experiences, and when she finds herself in a horrendous situation, it requires her not to lose calm and hope that she will be able to break free from the clutches of her captor. Teresa Palmer exudes all the right expressions, and her body language is on a song as she sails through her character.

The campy feel to the movie evokes the appropriate mood. Andi's apartment is in a remote neighborhood of Berlin where not much goes on. That makes Claire's call for help in vain. Berlin Syndrome doesn't move away often from Andi's apartment, but when it does, it is helpful and maintains the tension rather than letting go.

Berlin Syndrome has a slow build up when Claire is shown mingling with other tourists and walking through the streets before bumping into Andi. In fact, it never rushes and moves at a gingerly pace throughout its runtime. That is not a bad idea as it helps build anticipation as we approach the finale. The background score is effective in accentuating the intense scenes as also in drawing the viewer into a scene. It never distracts you from being too jarring thus overpowering the visuals.

By the time the movie reaches its climax, the viewer is expecting a strong finish. Berlin Syndrome doesn't waiver in delivering just that. Cate Shortland's film holds its forte, and while for most casual filmgoers it might go unnoticed, psychological thriller fans will not want to let this one pass. I am quite confident that it won't disappoint the latter.

Berlin Syndrome film review gives Berlin Syndrome 4 out of 5 stars

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