Winter Sleepers

Dir: Tom Tykwer
Starring: Marie-Lou Sellem, Heino Ferch, Floriane Daniel, Ulrich Matthes

Having seen the films Tykwer made both before and after Run Lola Run, it's apparent that one was more an aberration than a standard, in its non-stop energy and adrenaline-rush approach. Yet there is an undeniably similar visual style here, and all of his work seems intrigued with minor events and coincidences which eventually take on major importance in the lives of his characters. Here, it's a crash between a farmer's truck and a stolen car; neither driver remembers much about the event, for different reasons, but it kicks off a domino chain of events down the line. The focus of these are Rebecca and Marco (Daniel and Ferch), an immensely irritating couple, especially the latter, who is an utter slimeball. Relatively sane is Rebecca's housemate Laura (Sellem), a nurse who tends to one of the crash injured, but doesn't realise her new boyfriend was behind the wheel of the stolen car...

Tykwer always spends time - perhaps more than necessary - to set things up, and even Lola didn't really start to bite until half an hour in. Here, it's nearer an hour before things start to come together, but you can at least admire the lusciously-shot scenery (credit to regular Tykwer associate, cinematographer Frank Griebe, who turns the landscape almost into a central character). Up until then, there isn't much to keep you focussed, as the people are simply too banal to sustain interest. The second half draws the strands together to much better effect - you can probably see the denouement coming from some way off, but it's none the less satisfying for it. Though it never is explained why an expert skier would suddenly make such a mistake. Much like the entire film, it's falls a fraction short of being clever enough.


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