Netflix’s Sixty Minutes is a hard-hitting action thriller with an immersive gimmick

Skilled MMA fighter Octavio Bergmann (Emilio Sakraya) is preparing for one of many largest fights of his profession. His opponent is late, and that’s a downside: It’s truly the night time of his daughter’s party, and he promised to attend. Nonetheless, as he’s coming into the ring, he finds out that his ex-wife is submitting for sole custody until he can get to the social gathering within the subsequent hour. Octavio drops all the pieces and runs to them — angering components of the prison underworld who wager massive on his battle and can now chase him round Berlin to attempt to get him again to the ring.

That’s the premise of the economical Netflix German action thriller Sixty Minutes, which launched quietly in January and is one of many stronger action films of the yr to date. It’s led by a nice efficiency from Sakraya, who is a former nationwide karate champion, alongside with robust battle choreography and propulsive storytelling motivated by a time-related plot gimmick.

Octavio has 60 minutes to get from level A to level B, with stops alongside the best way to choose up a current and a cake. The film lets that action play out in real-time, a acquainted gimmick from films like Run Lola Run and Cleo from 5 to 7, and it actually provides to the immersion. But it surely additionally provides director and co-writer Oliver Kienle alternatives these movies didn’t have, as he experiments with trendy know-how as narrative aids.

For one, Octavio wears an earpiece linked to his cellphone all through the film, and Kienle and co-writer Philip Koch neatly use cellphone calls to assist break up the monotony of what might in any other case be a 60-minute chase sequence. Motorized scooters additionally play a half, each as weapons and as a means to get across the metropolis sooner. All of the whereas, the literal ticking clock of Octavio’s watch and the map of his journey sometimes seem on the display, reminding us (and him) how far he has to go, and the way little time he has to get there.

Photograph: Reiner Bajo/Netflix

Sixty Minutes’ battle scenes are stellar, leaning on the spectacular expertise of Sakraya and veteran stunt performers Marie Mouroum and Aristo Luis, each of whom have important roles within the film. The choreography is violent however measured, reflecting lots of the characters’ MMA coaching. These sequences pay simply as a lot consideration to how blows are dodged as they do to how blows join, making the fights really feel practical. Often, overactive digital camera motion or enhancing undercuts the choreography, however for essentially the most half, these scenes really feel thrilling and harmful.

Whereas nonetheless sometimes held again by a widespread downside with these sorts of custody thrillers — the chilly, unfeeling ex-wife who’s simply out to break the protagonist’s life — Sixty Minutes a minimum of has the center to make it plain that Octavio has been an absentee father and lacking his daughter’s social gathering can be the final straw (his ex-wife’s menace isn’t just a few random act of cruelty). And the selection to have him run away from a massive profession alternative to his daughter is a robust one, leading to an expertise the place the protagonist is consistently making an attempt to run away from the film he’s in. Sixty Minutes provides Sakraya a lot of room to precise his character’s ache and frustration with his personal selections. It’s the form of style fare Netflix ought to curate extra of, and it’s a robust begin to 2024 for the streamer.

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