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Movie Reviews

The Princess And The Warrior  

Back in 1999, Tom Tykwer made an impressive debut with "Run Lola Run", which was a big hit in its native Germany and made a darn good impression on American audiences. With its techo-ish soundtrack and a blazing red haired heroine who dashes all over Berlin to save her boyfriend, "Run Lola Run" had my adrenaline pumping for most of the film. It was a great movie, and consequently made my Top 10 of that year. Tykwer is back with "The Princess and the Warrior", and although many will be disappointed by the film's much more subdued pace, it is still rather quite a modern fairy tale with lots of heart and style.

The film has two threads of narrative. The first one is Sissy's. Played by Franka Potente minus the flashy red hair, Sissy is a good-natured nurse over at a psychiatric ward. She is kind and benevolent to her patients, although sometimes too good. The seconds story is that of Bodo's (Benno Fuhrmann). He is an ex-military guy with a sad outlook on life who literally cries most of the time (but because he has a gland problem). They are both terribly haunted by their past, and when their paths cross (under a big rig of all places), they form an unlikely bond that will help them move on with their lives.

The first thing that people will do after seeing this film is compare it to "Lola". It is very evident that this one does not have the same adrenaline rush as the former. "Lola" was a fast paced mad dash. The whole movie was based on the concept of time, and the film used it very effectively. The action started out right away and didn't let up, yet surprisingly, the characters were all humanized and everything worked.

I really didn't mind the unhurried tempo of "The Princess and the Warrior", although my biggest problem with it is that it meanders quite a bit. It gets distracted every now and then that the film feels a tad bit uneven. "Lola" ran to its destination directly, while "Princess" walked down the street and window shopped on the way.

Some of the hospital scenes were unnecessary attempts to personalize each patient. Or what about Sissy's friend Meikes, who lives by the ocean? I thought she had more to do with the story since there are numerous references to her, but I just felt it was a strained and obvious effort to set some coincidences into motion. Everything does not add up nicely here.

Nevertheless, "The Princess and the Warrior" has a strong backbone - the essence of a fairy tale about destined lovers. The movie shines whenever either Sissy or Bodo is on screen. It is fascinating the way their relationship unfolds between them. They are both searching for something out there, and are unsure of what it is. However, when they find it and realize what they have, the magic between Sissy and Bodo sparks up the film. It didn't matter if they met by chance or by destiny, all that matters is that they met.

"The Princess and the Warrior" might be a long stroll through the park, but we eventually get to the other side. It is a curious trip worth taking.

Film is Rated R for disturbing images, some sexual content and language. Running time is 135 minutes. German subtitles.


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