THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR
Review by Michael Jacobson
Franka Potente, Benno Furmann, Joachim Krol
Director: Tom Tykwer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 133 Minutes
Release Date: January 29, 2002
had a dream…we were together in my dream.
We were brother and sister, mother and father, husband and wife…”
Princess and the Warrior is one of the more unusual love stories offered in recent years…while
the idea of two people thrown together by fate is not new, the way Sissi
(Potente) and Bodo (Furmann) do it is not exactly by the numbers.
The romance is almost secondary to a kind of nihilistic desperation on
the parts of both characters.
film reunites director Tom Tykwer with his leading lady Potente…their
international breakthrough Run Lola Run was an original, kinetic, and
absorbing movie. Here, Tykwer
tackles some of the same themes about the synchronicity of certain events, and
what they mean, if anything. But Princess
is quite different in stylistic terms.
Lola was a vibrant woman who seemed to twist fate by sheer will.
Sissi is a more fragile young girl whom fate often bends.
is a nurse at a mental hospital, where her days consist of taking walks with a
blind patient, sitting in on therapy meetings, and even being a little more
accommodating than her job description probably called for, with only a meek
“I’m tired” as a protest.
world is changed when she is hit by a truck in the streets.
A dreamy sequence occurs where a young man crawls under the truck to get
to her, and performs an emergency tracheotomy on her so she can breathe.
She escapes alive…the doctors call it a miracle…and she sets out
determined to find the man who saved her life.
man is, of course, Bodo, who isn’t quite a gallant Prince Charming.
He is a petty criminal, plotting with his brother to rob a bank by
tunneling into the vault. When Sissi shows up at their door, he is less than enthused.
But she can’t stay away, and reasons he doesn’t understand, neither
don’t want to reveal the little twists in the story that may or may not
explain the cosmic uniting of this pair…it’s definitely Tykwer’s food for
thought, and it deserves to be savored first hand.
His pacing is slow and thoughtful, but the film rarely seems to drag.
One or two shots, including a long pull back at the end, could have been
judiciously trimmed, but overall, there are no complaints.
visual style is intact…even though this picture doesn’t have the manic
energy of Run Lola Run, Tykwer still uses impeccable camerawork, staging,
and effects to convey both tangible and psychological information.
He lets his actors’ work shine through in every frame, intuitively
realizing that sometimes a silent expression can say more than pages of
ending is a rather bold exercise in chutzpah.
Tykwer simply uses the medium of film to literally communicate what is
transpiring figuratively. His movie
gently suggests that all things are possible, and considering none of his
characters are really of the most sound mind, why not?
and Bodo are two damaged souls who come together because something greater than
them seemed to plan it that way. Is
theirs a path of healing or self-destruction?
The movie spends most of its time suggesting it could go either way, but
despite some strange occurrences along the way, one can feel the ultimate
emotion is hope.
the title suggests hope from hopelessness.
Is Sissi a princess, or is Bodo a warrior? Hardly. But
maybe the movie hints that even the most pained human beings have a shot at that
kind of fairy tale happiness. Either
that, or happily ever after is where you find it and how you make it…take your
is a quality anamorphic transfer from Columbia Tri Star, one that really
captures and expresses Tykwer’s visual style beautifully.
The colors are natural and bright from start to finish, and images are
generally sharp and well rendered, save for one or two brief darker scenes where
a little definition is lost. I
wonder what color hair Ms. Potente will be sporting in her next Tykwer film?
5.1 audio is mostly centered on the forward stage, with good clean dialogue and
good panning effects. The rear
stage opens up during a couple of key scenes; apart from that, it mostly exists
for ambience and to enhance the music. The
.1 channel gets a few signals, but not many…if there’s a problem with the
mix, I think too much bass was sent to the center channel instead of the
subwoofer, where it doesn’t render quite as vibrantly (at least not on my
system). That minor notice aside,
this is still a highly serviceable track.
are two commentary tracks to choose from, and both are enjoyable listens.
The more informative one is Tom Tykwer by himself, who discusses the
making of the project in great detail with lots of scene-specific comments and
discussions of his ideas and thoughts behind his creation.
The second track features Tykwer with his two leading stars, recorded
together. It’s a more laid back
track, with some humor. All three speak English quite well.
is a half hour making-of featurette, which is in German with subtitles…a
decent piece, as far as they go. There
are a couple of deleted scenes, a music video, filmographies, and some three
trailers, for this film, Run Lola Run and Go.