Because "Run, Lola, Run" was such an astonishing piece of work, it is inevitable that its writer/director, Tom Tykwer, should be scrutinized heavily upon the release of his next film, "The Princess and the Warrior."The result of that scrutiny: not a bad film, but not near what Tykwer is capable of.
"It's not 'Lola,' but it's not bad."
"The Princess and the Warrior" lets us again watch Lola herself, Franka Potente. This time, she's Sissi, a nurse in a psychiatric ward whose devotion to her patients is borderline obsessive. We know nothing else about her life, at first.
On her way to run an errand for a friend, she is hit by a truck. The man who inadvertently caused the accident, Bodo (Benno Furmann), unaware he is at fault, stops to help Sissi and performs an emergency trachiotomy that saves her life. She is grateful beyond words and becomes obsessed with finding the stranger after she recovers so she can properly thank him.
Bodo, meanwhile, is a troubled soul. His wife died in a gas station explosion some time ago, and now he weeps often and without reason. He and his brother, Walter (Joachim Krol), are planning a heist of the bank Walter works at, followed by a move to Australia. Bodo's pain over his wife's death prevents him from developing any new relationships, and he shuns Sissi when she finds him.
The two Tykwer films at hand both deal heavily with issues of fate, coincidence and destiny. But while "Run, Lola, Run" was the very picture of frenetic, half-crazed visceralism, the new film lets things develop slowly. Much of what we learn about Bodo and Sissi is not revealed until the final third of the movie, a tactic that sometimes tries one's patience. One almost feels cheated to discover, at the end, how much more to these characters there was: Why didn't he tell us this sooner? It would have made the whole experience that much better.
But even as it stands, the film is passable. Potente and Furmann give fine performances in their respective tortured roles, though Tykwer has them emotionally distanced from the audience for much of the time. Visually, Tykwer's directorial style is one of imagination and creativity. He does not show off, but he does enjoy finding angles and movements that are different from what we'd expect.The last few pages of the script, too, are unusual enough to keep you thinking for at least a few minutes after the thing is over.
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originally posted: 08/20/01 12:53:21