Shot over two hours in a single, continuous take, Sebastian Schipper’s immersive German crime drama presents a huge logistical and artistic challenge. Whereas previous single take films like Hitchcock’s Rope or Alexander Sokurov’s Russian Ark took place in one site, Schipper’s remarkable film relies on multiple settings and set-ups; nightclubs, rooftops, parking lots and 19 other locations spread across Berlin.
Laia Costa plays the title character – a spirited waitress who is recruited to act as the getaway driver in a daring bank heist. Along with the film’s other principals, Costa is a feisty and engaged performer; evidently able to sustain focus on the demanding requirements of Schipper’s film. The film’s second half – which details the heist itself and its aftermath – is as charged as any multiplex action film, but evidently filmed on a fraction of a typical Hollywood budget. The conceit of Schipper’s film, meanwhile, is soon forgotten as the tension ratchets up, ever higher.