Berlin Syndrome (15)

Four stars

Dir: Cate Shortland

With: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt

Runtime: 116 minutes

A HIT at the Glasgow Film Festival in February, Cate Shortland’s psychological thriller is a chew your fingernails down to the stubs affair. Clare (a terrific Teresa Palmer, last seen in Hacksaw Ridge) is a young Australian photographer visiting Berlin with little besides a camera and a backpack full of trust in her fellow humans. When charming hipster Andi (Max Riemelt) offers to show her around, she thinks, “Why not?” Why not indeed. Riffing on the idea of Stockholm Syndrome, in which a captive begins to identify with their kidnapper, Shortland’s picture is an old school chiller, but one that is made by a female director with modern sensibilities to match.

The Shack (12A)

One star

Dir: Stuart Hazeldine

With: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer

Runtime: 132 minutes

FOR much of The Shack’s 132-minute running time I stared at the screen, open-mouthed in amazement – and not in a good way. Adapted from book by William P Young, it’s the story of Mack (Sam Worthington, Avatar) whose family suffers an unbearable tragedy. Mack loses what little is left of his faith, so when he receives a note from God asking him to meet in the titular shack for a chat, he is naturally disbelieving. But hey ho, off he goes, thereby starting a whole ball of bizarreness rolling. Playing like an afternoon TV movie made by a God channel, this has to be the strangest film of the year.