Currently available on Netflix (as well as VOD and DVD) is one of the most taut movies of 2017, Berlin Syndrome. If you’re looking for Netflix movies that offer a story filled with psychological drama and nail-biting suspense, then look no further than this 2017 gem from Australian director Cate Shortland (Lore).
Based on Melanie Joosten’s 2012 novel of the same name, Berlin Syndrome has been winning-over audiences since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last January. The film has a runtime of 116 minutes, and it features a pair of actors who deliver stunning performances: Teresa Palmer (Hacksaw Ridge, Lights Out) and Max Riemelt (Amnesia, We Are the Night).
Palmer plays Clare, an Australian photographer vacationing in Berlin. She meets Andi, a charming local and teacher. The two share a night of passion together that seems to have sparks of a romantic beginning. But this new romance soon turns into a nightmare for Clare. She wakes up one morning while Andi is at work, and she finds that he has locked her in his apartment. Worse yet, Andi wants to keep it that way for a long time. The film leaves the audience guessing; Will Clare be able to outsmart Andi and escape, and will she be able to keep her sanity while doing it?
Cate Shortland blew away audiences with her two previous movies, Somersault and Lore, and no doubt Netflix viewers will be just as impressed with Berlin Syndrome. With precise angles that often entice suspense, and breathtaking closeups, the direction of the movie is outstanding.
The first part of the film plays out like an erotic drama. The focus is on Clare, processing her new surroundings, and her meeting Andi. The steamy scenes between the two characters, which leave little to the imagination, is very effective. The audience can feel Clare and Andi connect that night. This adds to the realism of the two characters, and the nightmare that is about to begin.
Once Clare realizes she is a prisoner, it doesn’t take long for the tension to tighten. Suspenseful and unsettling moments come often, and the audience is sure to find themselves on the edge of their seat. The way the film was shot and written, the filmmakers made sure to not spoil what the fate of the Australian tourist will be.
The storytelling of the film comes alive as Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt provide stellar performances. With the majority of the movie focused on the two leads, this two-hour movie worked as a platform for the talented pair to showcase their acting abilities. And showcase it they did.
Palmer’s portrayal of complex emotions, as we watch her character struggle between surviving and losing her sense of reality, is awe-inspiring. Riemelt portrayed the psychotic teacher with great balance; we see the human side of Andi, but he never lets us forget that he is the antagonist. Netflix audiences should enjoy watching the characters interact as the story builds to the climax, providing an ending that’s as satisfying as the journey.
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With brilliant direction, great suspense, and award-worthy performances from Max Riemelt and Teresa Palmer, Berlin Syndrome is one of the best movies on Netflix.
[Featured Image by Vertical Entertainment]