The title, and the film itself, ‘Berlin Syndrome’ is a clever twist on the condition Stockholm Syndrome. Though by the time the credits roll will you be feeling affection for this Australian thriller? The story follows Aussie tourist Clare as she visits Berlin and meets English teacher, Andi. The pair form somewhat of a casual relationship but Clare has no idea of just how deadly this will turn out to be.
As the film begins it will appeal to the free spirits in audiences who love to travel and want to explore the world. Some visually attractive cinematography creates for many what will seem like a desirable situation. However, like similar films before it such as ‘Hostel’ & ‘Taken’ the film quickly becomes an advertisement for anything but traveling. The film develops into a very effective hostage/abduction thriller. There is an appropriate level of tension and suspense littered throughout the film with some truly uncomfortable moments unfolding right before the audience. In a change from the usual films in this genre we get a more detailed look at the life of the captor. This added a lot to the already unsettling tone, at times it felt like this almost normalised the situation. All of this was brought to life brilliantly by the two lead performers; Teresa Palmer & Max Riemelt. They make the narrative work on so many levels creating a potentially more thought provoking story than the standard abduction movie.
Whilst the film never really grips you until the main narrative begins and it may go on a little long for some viewers it’s still a largely successful thriller. You’ll gasp and wince at all the right moments and you’ll experience suspense in all the appropriate amounts. With a few twists on the usual genre conventions there is considerable effort made in the way of originality. As a result I’d reccomend seeking out the film in it’s more limited release and be on the look out for it when it hits VOD platforms.
Rating – 8/10
Question: What is your favourite abduction/kidnapping movie?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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