Winter Sleepers



The advertising trumpets over and over "FROM THE MAKER OF RUN LOLA RUN!" Winter Sleepers was the second film made by Tom Tykwer, after Deadly Maria and before Run Lola Run. The American release of Winter Sleepers is primarily due to the enormous success last year of Run Lola Run, a supersonic paced movie that twisted reality upon its head. Anyone expecting the same thing here will be disappointed. This is much more of a deliberately paced drama, although similar elements exist in both movies. If anything, Winter Sleepers proves that Tykwer can successfully make vastly different movies. Tykwer wrote Winter Sleepers with Anne-Francoise Pyszora, the author of Expense of Spirit, the source of the movie.

Each character here wears one color. Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem) wears red and translates American romance novels. She is beginning a relationship with Marco (Heino Ferch), a stereotypical ski bum perpetually clad in blue. He is vain, stupid, and cheats on Laura any chance he gets. Laura lives with her sister Rebecca (Floriane Daniel), a nurse. At the beginning of the movie, Marco visits Laura and leaves the door to his new car open when going inside. Rene (Ulrich Matthes, a Keith Richards clone) sees the car and goes for a joyride. He ends up getting into an accident with Theo (Joseph Bierbichler), seriously injuring Theo's young daughter.

The lives of these five principal characters then begin to intersect. Rebecca tends to Theo's daughter in the hospital. Rene begins a relationship with Rebecca. Rene has a memory problem, so he does not remember the accident. So here he is, spending time in the same house as Marco, whose car he stole a few days earlier. Meanwhile, no one believes Theo was in an accident. All Theo remembers is a strange curved symbol. Their lives intertwine increasingly until inevitably, the truth emerges.

Fans of Lola will enjoy seeing Ronnie (Ferch), the bum (Bierbichler), and the bicyclist in Winter Sleepers. There is also a shot where the camera spins continuously around Rene, which Tykwer used again in Lola. Both movies have strong female characters and male leads that lack many desirable characteristics. However, Winter Sleepers requires the viewer to pay attention. The tension mounts slowly but steadily over the course of the movie. Most of the movie takes place away from much urban contact. The characters must contend with the forces of nature and themselves. The snow and ice play a large role in the movie, causing the initial accident and a pivotal turn in the plot near the end of the movie. Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil supply the music as they did in Lola, but here, instead of the thumping techno, the music of Winter Sleepers is much more ambient, often consisting solely of a piano. As in Lola, the music perfectly matches the tone of the film. Tykwer is certainly a stylistic force to be reckoned with and any future efforts by him will be welcomed enthusiastically.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
2 hours, 4 minutes, German with English Subtitles, Not Rated, but contains language and nudity.

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