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PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR, THE

SYNOPSIS:
Psychiatric nurse Sissi (Franka Potente) is hit by a truck, saved by a stranger on the run from the police – and fascinated by the notion that perhaps it was fate bringing him into her life. She tracks him down, to find that Bodo (Benno Fürmann) is also running from his own demons and shuns her. When Bodo and his brother Walter (Joachim Krol) attempt to rob a bank, Sissi again crosses his path, this time with dramatic consequences. A letter from a distant friend plays a key role in this crucial encounter.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The title has a distinctly fairytale quality, which is sadly lacking in Tom Tykwer’s potentially interesting but overlong and unsuccessful attempt at a strangled love story which begins under a truck. His imagination is vibrant and energetic, so much so that it runs away with his pen and his camera. There is a telling quote of his in the notes to the film: "…we shall get to know these people and then simply go on weaving, without being exposed to reality, which in life plays its own game." Fine filmic sentiments, perhaps, but I rather wish he’d have gone further into fairytale land than simply slip over the edge of reality. Some basics are called for when your characters are living in a limbo between reality and the filmmaker’s creation: some of the scenes in the asylum, for example, defy commonsense, without being hyper-real. They’re just examples of careless filmmaking, a failure to recognise the critical importance of detail. Audiences – consciously and/or subconsciously – absorb details or the lack of them, and carelessness has an impact on the overall impact of the film. His stated objective is to show the healing power of love; it’s not a novel idea, but nevertheless, it’s worth exploring if you have a unique way of exploring it. Tykwer creates and then mangles his unique way, with an obtuse and unexplained stranger whose letter to Sissi plays a crucial role in the story, suggesting that fate does indeed have a role in Sissi’s love story. But saturated with a dissonant tone that distances from the characters, much of this film is contrived and bloated with self indulgences. I found Tykwer’s Run Lola Run great fun and clever cinema; this time I’m disappointed and bored.

Review by Louise Keller:
Hot on the heels of his smash hit Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer has created an extraordinary film with a breathtaking impact. Tykwer's concise script (every word matters), his mesmerising repetitive musical themes and risky, imaginative filmmaking lead us into a unique world where two strangers find a connection. What I really like about the film, is that we have absolutely no idea where the story is going to lead us; I felt myself drawn to the screen as if a giant magnet were compelling me. The powerful, life-changing moment under a huge red truck absolutely took my breath away. The events are so unexpected and the subsequent actions are hugely compelling. It is impossible to look away for a single second: suddenly we're immersed deep in the lives of two strangers and we view and feel life through their perspective. The bond between them is as real as if connecting lines were drawn. Chance, destiny and the bizarre nature of the human condition all meld together in a complex mixing pot, where the roles of victim and saviour become intertwined. You will never forget Franka Potente as Sissi: she haunts through her plaintive expression and understated performance. Potente and Fürmann work wonderfully together – they are lost souls waiting to discover the missing link that the other holds. All the performances are terrific: the heart wrenching characters we meet at the psychiatric clinic are painfully real, as is their attachment and reliance on Sissi. There is a constant sense of anticipation, greatly enhanced by Tykwer's music – single piano notes climb the keyboard like a staircase, while the cello moans its protest. The emotions are raw and hugely effecting. It is hard to distinguish where the rain ends and the tears begin. A sharp edit at a crucial point confuses and several characters are not properly explained, but the 133 minute running time simply flies. Terrifying and exhilarating all at once, The Princess and The Warrior is both dense and intense. Its fairy tale title accentuates the romantic in the poetic sense. Sometimes it may be better not to question, but to follow your instincts. Dream – the hand that taps on your shoulder could be your own.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

Read Brad Green's
SOUNDTRACK REVIEW

PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR, THE (M)
(Ger)
[Krieger und die Kaiserin, Der]

CAST: Franka Potente, Benno Fürmann, Walter, Marita Breuer, Jürgen Tarrach, Lars Rudolph

DIRECTOR: Tom Tykwer

PRODUCER: Stefan Arndt, Maria Kopf

SCRIPT: Tom Tykwer

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Frank Griebe

EDITOR: Mathilde Bonnefoy

MUSIC: Tom Tykwer, Johnny Kilmek, Reinhold Heil

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Uli Hanisch

RUNNING TIME: 133 minutes

RATING: M

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: October 16, 2002







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