Indie Gems: Berlin Syndrome

Never let me go.

An Australian tourist Clare (Theresa Palmer) meets local Andi (Max Riemelt) while exploring Berlin. They hit it off and end up at his secluded apartment building to hook up. The next day, Clare wakes up to find herself locked in his apartment with no way to escape. Andi has no intentions of letting her leave.

Don't worry, it's not torture porn, though the premise makes it sound like it could be. I'm actually really torn on this film even though I'm offering it up as an Indie Gem. I think it does an interesting job of trying to show how Stockholm Syndrome effects people. Andi wants to make Clare into his girlfriend. Yes, she tries to escape many times, but then she also shows compassion towards him. When a family member of his dies, she comforts him. He brings home a puppy that she happily plays with. It's only when she gets glimpses of the real world that Clare seems to remember she needs to leave, and that is quite fascinating.

It's also frustrating as this film is one of the slowest burns I've ever seen. I understand the need for it, we need to feel as Clare does. Director Cate Shortland always makes sure of that. But there was a point where I actually groaned when a character made a mistake that I knew was going to add another 15 minutes to the run time. 

I've been a fan of Theresa Palmer ever since seeing her in the highly underrated 2:37 and she's amazing here as always. Reimelt also gives a great performance as the charming psychopath. 

Recommended: Yes - but it's a slow one.

Grade: C+

Memorable Quote: "I met someone." - Andi (Max Riemelt)


  1. I do want to see this as I've seen a couple of films by Cate Shortland which I recommend. I don't mind slow films as long as they have a payoff.

    1. Of her films, I liked Sommersault but didn't care for Lore. I'd put this in the middle of those two.

  2. I've always liked Teresa Palmer even though she's not in a lot of quality movies. I'll give this one a go some time.

    1. She always makes the best of whatever she is in. I enjoy her a lot.

  3. Oh damn. I'm always in for some Teresa Palmer. ALWAYS.

    Thanks for giving me the heads up on this one. I would have never heard about it...unless they put the trailer before an awful kids movie.

    Premise sounds cool...but damn that slow burn, huh?

    Great post!

    1. I think it's worth checking out, but I had to warn of its slowness lol

  4. I have a little crush on Max Riemelt though.. I saw him first in a German movie about a cop who was going to be a dad and then Max's character showed up and he was suddenly having these unexpected feelings.. and Sense 8 of course. So I want to see this one, though I'm not liking the "slow burn" to it. Might struggle with knowing that and now.. forcing myself to watch it :D

    1. I hope since you see him so much it'll be easier! lol


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