The Princess and the Warrior
Run Sissi Run. Bodo and Sissi (Furmann and Potente) get into a bit of trouble...
Der Krieger und die Kaiserin

dir-scr Tom Tykwer
with Franka Potente, Benno Furmann, Joachim Krol, Jurgen Tarrach, Lars Rudolph, Melchior Beslon, Ludger Pistor, Marita Breuer, Steffen Schult, Rolf Dennemann, Susanne Bredehoft, Gottfried Breitfuss
release US 22.Jun.01; UK 29.Jun.01
00/Germany 2h09

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E

The Run Lola Run team of Tykwer and Potente is back with a new contemporary German drama (with a fitting fairy tale title), but this time Tykwer has eschewed kinetic energy for a clever, twisty story of two loners who find each other amid chaotic circumstances. Sissi (Potente) is a nurse in a Wuppertal psychiatric clinic who helps the patients in a startlingly personal way and yet seems completely detached from life. Bodo (Furmann) is an ex-Army man who can't get over a personal tragedy, can't keep a job and seems to fall into trouble at every turn. They meet when Sissi is hit by a truck and Bodo saves her life. So begins a tentative, awkward relationship that goes back and forth. And things heat up both in the psychiatric hospital and in the bank where Bodo's brother (Krol) works ... and is planning a heist.

Basically, this is one of those films in which two outsiders help awaken the real person inside each other; they each save the others' life without ever really thinking about the consequences, and then are forced to confront their own lives as a result. The script is tight and intelligent, with recurring events and themes that continually cycle round on themselves neatly. But in stark contrast to the breathless Run Lola Run, this one never gets up a head of steam at all. It moves almost (but not quite) as slowly as Sissi's aimless wandering. Potente is stiff and ill at ease, which may make sense for the character but never gives us anything interesting to look at. Furmann at least has the missing energy, even if his performance never grows into a fully rounded character. And Krol, Belson and Rudolph (as two mental patients) give the film some badly needed pathos. But the real problem is that Tykwer seems overly pleased with the quirky coincidences and tidy dovetailing in his script ... and with all his admittedly fascinating visual trickery. This leaves the film intriguing to look at but not remotely engaging.
themes, violence cert 15 14.Jun.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall