Berlin Syndrome

Australian backpacker Clare (played by the beauteous Teresa Palmer) falls for the brooding, poetic German hunk pretty much as soon as she arrives in Berlin, to take pictures of East Berlin architecture.

A one-night stand turns a bit weird when she can’t get out of his flat the next day, but she puts it down to sexy fun (oh, those Germans) and stays another night. Then she realises he’s locked her in again and there’s no getting out of this place.

It becomes a hostage/kidnap drama and the title suggests some kind of psychological depth akin to Stockholm syndrome where the hostage identifies with the captor. Which she actually never does. Nor do we – I couldn’t care less for this guy and his Daddy issues or his creepy leering at the girl pupils in the school where he teaches.

Cate Shortland, the Australian director, might be going for some metaphorical reading of male/female relationships here but I found myself recoiling from the very act of watchig it, no matter how stylishly it’s shot. I can’t think who would really want put themselves through the ordeal of watching this. I’ve a feeling that because it’s directed by a woman that this should add a layer of meaning but I couldn’t find much to redeem it, or see any traditional tables being overturned.

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