By Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 8, 2015

The spectacular girl-meets-boy-meets-heist movie Victoria barrels around Berlin in one uninterrupted take for 134 minutes. During that time, the title character (riveting Laia Costa), a Spanish 20-something temporarily looking for fun in the German capital, dances in a pulsing underground club, meets a quartet of raucous German buddies, connects with the cute one (Frederick Lau), and, on fumes of 4 a.m. attraction, loneliness, excitement and the heartbreaking fearlessness of beautiful youth, joins them on an amateur bank robbery, with harrowing consequences. Moving among 22 locations, director Sebastian Schipper and his heroic cinematographer, Sturla Brandth Grovlen, have crafted a mad, handheld feat of propulsive movie bravado. In the midst of this real-time adventure, though, there is nothing to do but hang on and be swept up in all the mesmerizing, outlandish inevitability. As the light comes up on a new Berlin day, we are wrung out. Imagine the cameraman.

–LISA SCHWARZBAUM

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This appears in the October 19, 2015 issue of TIME.

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