Director: Cate Shortland
Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt
Language: English, German with English subtitles
Country of Origin: Australia-Germany 2016 116 mins. (15)
Official Selection 2017 Sundance Film Festival
Released by Curzon Artificial Eye
'Do you like strawberries,' Andi's (Max Riemelt) chat-up line soon hooks in lonely Aussie backpacker Clare (Teresea Palmer). A second 'chance' meeting in a bookshop while glancing through a Gustav Klimt volume and the flirtation begins. He's charismatic, she's a lonely photojournalist in Berlin. The attraction's instant and it's back to his apartment in former East Berlin and sex. Clare's smitten. They're lovers. She's happy. When Andi's leaves for work she can't find the key to the apartment and the door's bolted. It's no mistake, Clare's trapped in an otherwise empty derelict block in former East Berlin, the windows have unbreakable glass, her SIM card's been taken from her phone and finding some polaroids Clare realises that she's not the first to fall for the 'Do you like strawberries' chat-up line. Andi, the teacher of English, a loving son, athletics coach to his admiring students and caring abductor, has been there before.
'Berlin Syndrome,' adapted from Melanie Joostent's 2011 novel is an edge-of-the-seat, tension-filled thriller. Essentially a two hander, with effective lead roles from Max Riemelt and Teresa Palmer, the tensions racked up by Bryony Marks' electronic score, hints of Stockholm Syndrome drop in and the abductor Andi's day-to-day regular work routine ends with a shop at the end of the day - he cares for his new found love. How should Clare play her abductor's game? Surprisingly there's little insight into the psychology of the abductor or the victim, but taking it as a thriller, 'Berlin Syndrome' scores well.