Berlin Syndrome (2017)
R | 1h 56min | Thriller | 26 May 2017 (USA)
Synopsis: While holidaying in Berlin, Australian photographer, 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, 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.
Review: BERLIN SYNDROME was on my must see list at the Dallas International Film Festival and I am excited that it is getting a national release now. This psychological thriller is a fine tuned drama with creepy tension and believable characters.
Clare (Teresa Palmer) is instantly likable. Her earthy, easy going nature coupled with Palmer’s natural beauty and light up a room smile make her a character that catches your attention. Then when you put her in a dangerous situation it only makes sense that the audience would want to walk hand in hand through the peril with her. Her new lover Andi (Max Riemelt) you like immediately too. Later, not so much.
The plot is simple enough. Girl meets guy. Guy likes girl. Guy locks girl in apartment and never lets her out. What gives the story depth is the dance the two characters do throughout the film. Clare has to find a way to survive. Maybe not physically but definitely mentally. Clare has to subtly placate Andi while trying to find a way to escape. Andi is a soft spoken psycho which makes him even more terrifying. He may walk among humanity appearing normal on the outside but at the same time he has no grip on reality as we all know it. As you can imagine Clare has to decipher his motives and actions in order to free herself from this prison.
Palmer is a well admired actress and it was so exciting to see her in this type of gritty, dark role. She takes chances in this one that pay off. Recent films like The Choice and Hacksaw Ridge have lulled us into thinking she can’t get messy when needed. No offense to either of those films but there is a lot more to Teresa then what we see in them.
If you are a fan of mental thrillers that keep you on the edge of your seat without plaguing you with squeamish visuals then this is your baby. There are few cliches and easy outs in the script. Again it is not an uncommon premise but at the same time the dialogue and characters are well thought out.
BERLIN SYNDROME is rated R for disturbing violent content, strong sexuality, nudity and some language. It is an adult film and the content is handled and delivered in a mature fashion. Nothing feels salacious or gratuitous which helps elevate the story to something worth seeing. I give it 4 out 5 deadbolts. Fans of the genre and Palmer with be quite satisfied.