The Princess and the Warrior

"Weak"

The Princess and the Warrior Review


German auteur Tom Tykwer downshifts from the frenetic pace of Run Lola Run, landing solidly back in first gear -- if that -- with The Princess and the Warrior, a glorified and conceited film school project if ever I've seen one.

Tykwer reunites with Lola star Franka Potente, casting her as Sissi (the princess, presumably) a troubled mental ward nurse who probably ought to be a patient herself. After a morose 20-minute setup wherein the players are cryptically introduced, we find Sissi lying near death under a semi truck, run down in a city street. To her rescue comes the unlikely hero Bodo (the warrior?), played by the Gary Oldmanesque Benno Fürmann (also Potente's Anatomy costar), a two-bit crook who indirectly caused the collision in the first place. Bodo saves Sissi's life by giving her a homemade tracheotomy, and after a long recovery, the already unstable Sissi soon finds herself obsessed with her savior.

What follows is a mishmash of heist flicks and David Lynch movies as Sissi tracks Bodo down, is shunned by him, and later just-so-happens to run into him while he and his brother are robbing the local bank. To be sure, it's an atmospheric, dark, and weird story as we ride the elevated trains of Wuppertal, Germany, a picturesque small town laden with shadowy wrong turns.

Alas, it's too bad that the story of The Princess can't keep up with the creepiness of its setting. With little in the way of a guiding plot, the movie is poorly structured with confusing and random character arcs. Tykwer ultimately seems more obsessed with framing clever photographs than in telling his story and as a result, he manages even to make a bank robbery look boring.

As well, setting much of the film inside the mental hospital is a cheat, an easy out for excusing the behavior of characters that would otherwise go intolerated in the real world -- and wouldn't be tolerated in an asylum, either. The film feels more like a by-product of a bad dream Tykwer had but can only half-remember. Most notably this is manifest in Sissi's sudden revelation that leads to the film's climax, a confession that is as phony as they come. The neo-supernatural dénouement is just as foolish.

While Tykwer would have us believe The Princess is a meditation on chance and destiny and the meaning of life, the whole scenario is a contrivance and a fraud. Tykwer is naïve in mistaking cleverness in his use of coincidence and repeating themes for what is actually an obvious and lazy plot device. The result is an intensely restless audience who were hoping for another Lola and got quite the opposite.

The biggest slap of The Princess and the Warrior comes right at the end, when after you've suffered through 2 hours and 15 minutes of Tykwer's histrionics, he leaves you with a long, slow helicopter shot, pulling back from the final scene in a single take that lasts for a several minutes. Presumably we are left to ponder the depth of The Princess's meaning. Instead, we put on our jackets, check our watches, and wonder what happened to the budding talent of a new filmmaker.

Aka Der Krieger und die Kaiserin.

Pinch me, I'm dreaming.



The Princess and the Warrior

Facts and Figures

Run time: 135 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 12th October 2000

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Simone 'Sissi' Schmidt, as Bodo Riemer, as Walter Riemer, as Steini, as Werner Dürr, as Schmatt, as Meike, as Sissis Mutter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Advertisement
Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.