By: Nick Askam

I don’t think there’s ever been a time where I wanted to leave more, but what was on screen was so good that I was glued to my chair. The disturbing thriller kept me at the edge of my seat and left me wondering what I had gotten myself into. There were moments that were eye-catching and some that made me want to close my eyes for a very long time.

I haven’t been shaken by a movie like this in quite some time. It reminded me of Room, and I liked it significantly more than Room. I remember seeing the poster and knowing nothing about it. I thought it would be about someone finding themselves in the big city. I guess that’s kinda what it’s about except in the most twisted way imaginable. This movie has stuck with me for weeks and I have recommended it to many of my friends who like the thriller/ horror genre.

Berlin Syndrome is about this girl, Clare (Teresa Palmer), who has just come from Australia and decides to stay in Berlin for a few days. She meets Andi (Max Riemelt) who is a charming teacher from the area. Well, things happen and she ends up hooking up with him. Then, he traps her in his apartment. At first, she thinks it’s all fun and games. She quickly realizes what is actually happening.

The performances in this movie are wonderful especially from Palmer. You can tell how much she put into this movie as her whole performance is incredible. Riemelt’s performance can’t go without notice either. The way that his character opens up as events transpire is astonishing and great. There were moments when you know exactly what he’s thinking and then he composes himself and surprises you. I was blown away by the acting. I thought it was top-notch.

The directing by Cate Shortland made this movie interesting. I think its strongest attribute is that Shortland directed it because the film is largely from a woman’s perspective. It gets a woman’s perspective. The cinematography is stunning for what I know was a smaller budget, and the way that the film is paced is great, too. I think that it was wonderful to have a different perspective behind the camera. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

My only flaws with the film is that it is too predictable for my taste and to get to the ending, a few things had to happen. The whole story line with Franka (Emma Bading) felt out of place. Maybe I don’t know the culture well enough, but it just felt like it shouldn’t have happened. Those were honestly the only parts that bothered me.

I loved the lead up and the way that the film was paced. Each element occurred as it should’ve for the story. It almost stone-walled the audience in parts. I felt like it made you stay with something longer than normal to foreshadow what would happen or to make you experience the pain that Clare felt.

Overall, I was blown away by this film. It surprised me and is easily my favorite film of the year. I think there’s some minor flaws with it, but the rest of the film is so great that it makes it worth it. I will definitely check it out when it comes out on DVD.

Grade: A