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The Princess and the Warrior

(Der Krieger und die Kaiserin)

Many people who go into Tom Tykwer's new film The Princess and the Warrior expecting something similar to his smash hit Run Lola Run will surely leave disappointed. This movie is more along the lines of his second film, Wintersleepers, released about a year ago (it was made before Lola but released domestically after) to similar expectations. Lola moved rapidly, whereas these two films move slowly and deliberately. In all three of these films, Tykwer stresses the importance of coincidence and fate, and how the two intertwine. The Princess and the Warrior is its own movie, one that frequently becomes a little too thoughtful for its own good.

Sissi (Franka Potente, Blow, Anatomy) is a nurse in a psychiatric ward. She was hit by a truck, which left her in a cast for close to three months. At the scene of the accident, a man appeared seemingly out of nowhere and saved her life. Fully recovered, Sissi obsesses about this man and becomes determined to find him. The man was Bodo (Benno Furmann, Anatomy, Kanak Attack). Bodo is drifting from job to job, often turning to crime. He was running away from security guards when he came across Sissi. Neither knows that his running was the inadvertent cause of Sissi's accident. It takes Sissi very little time to find him, and then she begins following him around like a puppy dog. Bodo wants nothing to do with her. He is planning a heist with his brother Walter (Joachim Krol, Anne Franke, The Piano Player).

Tykwer still has a flair for the visual. Many of the camera angles and transitions he employed in Run Lola Run appear here again (he even has a guy running down the street). Nevertheless, they lose some of their effect because it is not new anymore. The music (again by Tykwer and the same people that did Lola) sounds similar, except slower. Potente is not too effective as Sissi. Her characterization, like the rest of the movie, is slow and deliberate. Sissi is just too strange to relate to. She obviously baffles Bodo, who is Sissi's opposite. His moods swing violently from rage to abject depression. Furmann does not overplay it, which is hard given what the story requires of him.

Both Sissi and Bodo have serious issues to deal with in their lives, aside from their current problems. Tykwer slowly sheds light on these issues, which may or may not help explain the core motivations behind Sissi and Bodo. The problem is that Tykwer delves too deep, wasting time by spending it on unnecessary characterization. For a while, it is interesting, but begins to bog down the story with pointless plot. Revelations do shed light on the past, but really have little to do with the present or with the story. With Tykwer's pacing and the longer than average running time, The Princess and the Warrior almost becomes tedious at moments.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
2 hours, 7 minutes, German with English subtitles, Rated R for disturbing images, language, and some sexual content.

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