If Berlin Syndrome teaches you one thing, it’s that you shouldn’t trust a handsome stranger with a European accent. It’s a life lesson Clare, played by South Australia’s Teresa Palmer, will never forget.
Deciding to leave her job behind and try and see the world while she can, Clare sets off to Berlin by herself to photograph buildings of the Great Democratic Republic in East Berlin.
What she didn’t expect to find was a nice little fling with a nice local German man, Andi (played by Max Riemelt, who is also known for playing a not so nice local German man in Sense8).
He’s just a simple teacher who offers Clare strawberries and just so happens to be a fan of the same artist as her, Klimt.
She has found her perfect man… or so she thinks.
The rest of the film revolves around her realising she’s made a huge mistake, and trying her best to escape Andi.
Berlin Syndrome is a very claustrophobic thriller, with director Cate Shortland making great use of the confined space that Clare finds herself in.
The film doesn’t play into a general kidnapping narrative, while Clare’s main goal is to escape she gives into her captor from time to time to keep him calm and herself alive.
For the most part she recognises the importance of patience, and plays the waiting game until she can make her move.
The movie does a good job of making the audience feel as trapped and isolated as Clare; not only is she stuck in the apartment of a man with serious mummy issues, but she’s stuck in a foreign country where a language barrier cuts her further off from any real help.
Really what this film does is remind everyone the importance of taking someone with you, or at the very least not to talk to strangers.