Berlin Syndrome (2017)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Berlin Syndrome offers thriller fans an uncommonly well-written descent into dangerous obsession, enlivened by taut direction and a committed performance from Teresa Palmer.

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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.

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Cast

Emma Bading
as Franka Hummels
Lucie Aron
as Elodie Zadikan

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Critic Reviews for Berlin Syndrome

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (12)

The final showdown left me in a cold sweat.

Jun 5, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

[Shortland] is expert and building a sense of dread and suspense while Palmer delivers a persuasive performance as a woman who has to summon the strength that she didn't know she had in order to escape.

May 31, 2017 | Rating: 3/5

Australian director Cate Shortland creates a dreamlike sense of place within a nightmare scenario with this taut and strongly acted thriller.

May 26, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A nasty piece of business tarted up with a stylish, high-gloss veneer.

May 26, 2017 | Rating: C | Full Review…

The movie identifies Ms. Shortland as a talent to watch. And it should constitute some kind of breakthrough for Ms. Palmer, who has not been given much of interest to do since she arrived in Hollywood a little over a decade ago.

May 25, 2017 | Full Review…

We start to feel like we're drowning in atmosphere, and it gets harder and harder to stay interested in what happens next.

May 25, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Berlin Syndrome

½

Slow but decent. I had a false start with this one where I found it too plodding and switched it off, but I attempted to watch it again and I did find it quite good once the story gets going. It could certainly put you off traveling alone and trusting anyone you meet, that's for sure. It's not an overly talky movie, so there is a lot unsaid and a lot left to the viewers interpretation.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

½

This film has a very distinct visual style and if you aren't into slow burning melodrama thrillers, this film won't do much for you. I had expected this film would be similar to the novel You and the sequel Hidden Bodies but it takes a more serious and very dark route. These films can fall into the too grim to be entertaining but this is a very different and unique film, very believable characters. The film became something very unexpected but very interesting at the same time, I think this style along with some humour could draw in a larger crowd. The film will draw mixed reviews but for any film enthusiast, this is great cinema. 06-09-2017.

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

½

It can be tense and disturbing at times, even though it feels a bit too familiar (like a mix of Fear and Misery) and moves too slow for such a predictable type of movie, not managing that well to be entertaining as a thriller and being rather dull and unpleasant to watch.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

LOOKING FOR MR. GUTBAR - My Review of BERLIN SYNDROME (3 Stars) I love me a good home invasion thriller, especially when events occur with a slowly creeping insidiousness that gets under your skin. FUNNY GAMES and THE STRANGERS come to mind as prime examples of how a seemingly innocent setup could go so terribly wrong by preying on the victims' penchants for kindness. BERLIN SYNDROME, based on the novel by Melanie Joosten fits within this genre, although it's more of a home entrapment thriller than the opposite. Working off a screenplay by Shaun Grant, director Cate Shortland has a talent for atmosphere that reminded me of Sophia Coppola's drowsy, blissed-out aesthetic. She applies this vision to a terrifying story of an Australian tourist named Clare (Teresa Palmer of LIGHTS OUT) who meets Andi, a sweet Berliner (SENSE 8's Max Riemelt) on the street and has a casual overnight hookup with him. His Eastern bloc apartment is perfect for their loud sex, since it's established slyly that nobody can hear them. The next day, she awakens to find him off to work as a school teacher and he's, perhaps by accident, locked her into his flat. It seems like an honest mistake until he does it again the next day, and it slowly dawns on Clare that Andi has no intention of ever letting her out. It's a sensational setup, with little clues dropped along the way that Clare was in a boatload of trouble right from the very start. Filled with a plethora of setups and payoffs, BERLIN SYNDROME mostly works, but at nearly 2 hours, it overstays its welcome by at least 30 minutes. Part of the problem is that this film works visually, and thus, contains a lot of silence. Its measured pace doesn't seem warranted, especially when the third act feels so rushed, leaving too many logical steps unanswered. Also, its structure seems arbitrary at times, wherein any of the plot points could have happened at any time. Still, there's a really good 90 minute movie in here. Palmer, looking almost exactly like Kristen Stewart here, does a fantastic job as the type of traveler who stays in Youth Hostels and trusts strangers too easily. She's not given much of a backstory, but her expressive eyes and stunning range of reactions, at times silenced, filled with rage, or eerily seductive, sell her Kick Ass Waif character. Riemelt, however, has the opposite challenge. We know a lot about him, his work, and his relationship with his father, but he plays only one note throughout. I respected that he never turns into a bile-spewing super villain, but at this length, it falls a little flat. I admire that the filmmakers don't want to turn this film into something cheap, allowing for ambiguity, but there are way too many blanks to fill in, that it ultimately turns frustrating. At the Writers Guild screening I attended, there were many walkouts, possibly because of the intensity of the violence, or maybe they just got tired of its pacing. While no means great, I stayed. I love watching smart people trying to get themselves out of impossible situations despite the slicing and dicing.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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