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The Princess and the Warrior

Starring Franka Potente and Brenno Furmann
Written and Directed by Tom Twyker

IN SHORT: A riveting, if ultimately confusing, film. [Rated R for disturbing images, language, and some sexual content. 130 minutes]

In German, with subtitles.

And just this morning I was writing in another review how much I hate metaphors in movies. Eight hours later, I've finished sitting through one which tossed symbolic guilt in my face. Sometimes Cranky can't get a break. While we can make the point that Tom Twyker's follow-up to Run Lola Run is a compelling investigation of whether it is coincidence or destiny that brings Love into the lives of a man and a woman, we're not going go there. Let's start with a simple Boy Meets Girl scenario and let it hit warp speed from there.

He is named Bodo (Benno Fürmann) and has a problem with gas station markets. He likes to rip them off. She is named Sissi (Franka Potente), a caring nurse/attendant at a psychiatric hospital. On the day in question, Sissi was walking Otto, a blind patient, when Bodo jumped on the back of a tanker truck, trying to avoid getting nabbed. Yep, another gas station job. The truck driver was distracted and Sissi saved Otto by pushing him out of the way. Sissi, unfortunately, took the truck full on. Bodo, hiding from the cops chasing him, ducks under the crashed truck and, remarkably, returns to save Sissi's life. She, in turn, liked the smell of the salt in his sweat. Her mother told her no man ever comes back, even when they say they will, but this one did, and that was good enough for her.

We tell you that much because we have learned from personal experience that, even knowing everything we've just told you -- heck, even seeing it in the trailer -- when you see it on the big screen it will still blow you away. That being the case, you are warned that the life-saving sequence is visually graphic. It is one of two sequences which may make you squeamish. At minimum you will squirm. Grin and bear it. It sets up the true-to-life situation of Sissi seeking out her savior, long after her rehab is done. That's a normal action, which we can report from personal experience usually ends after one meeting. When Sissi finally finds Bodo, he rebuffs her.

She doesn't know that he is a petty crook, involved in setting up the big bank heist that will allow "retirement"in Australia. He doesn't know that she was born, raised and lives in the mental hospital; which tempts us to make a crack about inmates running the asylum. One rejection leads to another and their paths keep crossing. Sissi decides that, one way or another, she is going to be in his life. Bodo will discover that he has no choice in the matter, either.

When that moment comes, some little voice in the back of your brain will start whining "I don't believe this...." to which a bigger voice over on the left side will tell it, "Shut up and watch the movie." Such is the ever-possible problem with subtitled movies. Even when the dialog titles make sense to English readers sometimes something is lost in the translation. It may be hidden in an actor's performance, missed when your eyes were checking out the bottom of the screen. It may be a mis-translation. Or it may just be a bad piece of work by an actor or director. We don't know.

What we do know is that most of Twyker's work was so much fun to watch that the bigger voice in our brain won out. That doesn't mean that we weren't confused as all get out as the film wrapped and a subplot involving a murderous mental patient is revealed (the actor as cast is too young either in present action or flashback, if we followed the chronology of Sissi's life correctly. Again, it's either mis-casting or mistranslation)

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Princess and the Warrior, he would have paid . . .


dateflick level. An even simpler comparison is this: if you watched and enjoyed Twyker's Run Lola Run, also starring Potente, you'll enjoy this one. At least enough of it to make it worth the ticket cost.

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