Enigmatic and endearing, too
Serdar S. Yegulalp | Huntington, NY United States | 10/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many movies, most of them made in the wake of David Lynch's erratic career, are usually tagged as "mysterious" or "enigmatic" (think of some of Atom Egoyan's films). Tykwer's "Winter Sleepers", made just before "Run Lola Run", not only deserves the accolate but ennobles it. Set in the bleak, wintry German Alps, it intertwines several stories -- a failing farmer, a translator of romance novels, an amnesiac photographer -- in a story that shows how their lives intersected one day when a terrible accident befell two of them.Tykwer takes his audience's intelligence for granted and does not spill all the beans at once. He lets us be participants in the puzzle instead of passive recipients, and the result is a movie that's rich, strange, and endearing all at the same time."
Twists of fate
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 12/23/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Before Tom Tykwer created international hit "Run Lola Run" (or "Lola Rennt"), he created the ponderous "Winter Sleepers" (or "Winterschläfer"). Like Tykwer's later films, this one deals with fate, destiny, death, and love. It's an interesting execution, with a flawed climax and the occasional question of "where is this going?"Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem) arrives at her little country cottage, where her pretty friend Rebecca (Floriane Daniel) lives. Things are complicated after the first evening: while handsome but loutish Marco (Heino Ferch) is in bed with Rebecca, a strange man (Ulrich Matthes) wanders over and takes Marco's car. But when he is driving, he causes an accident that puts a child in a life-threatening coma.The child's father (Josef Bierbichler), stricken with grief, goes on the hunt for the man who accidently killed his daughter. That man, Rene, is now in love with Laura, but can't remember anything about the accident. Rene is also inadvertantly causing cracks in Laura and Marco's fragile, tempestuous relationship. One person will die -- two will find happiness -- and one will find freedom."Winter Sleepers" has a lot of the same themes and feel of Tykwer's later films, but more unpolished and loosely knit together. Though we know the fates of all these people are interconnected, much of the screen time is devoted to Laura and Rene's blossoming romance, or Marco and Rebecca's deteriorating one, and not to the central theme of the movie. The cinematography is breathtaking, with a lot of Tykwer's signatures like a camera panning in a complete circle around Rene, and a character death never being shown except by a thud and darkness. As he often does, Tykwer filmed many scenes in a portentous manner, as if every tiny event could start off something important. Perhaps the biggest problem is the conclusion. While beautifully filmed, it seems out-of-character and a bit of an easy way out, as if Tykwer wasn't entirely sure how to end the various interconnected storylines.One thing that Tykwer does well is give humanity in subtle ways to the characters, even the stupid, cheating Marco, who is genuinely miserable and guilt-stricken after his girlfriend falls off a ledge. Matthes is instantly sympathetic as the sensitive, memory-impaired Rene. Daniel and Sellem are quite nice in their roles as, respectively, the sexpot and the quiet wannabe-actress nurse."Winter Sleepers" lacks the tightness and focus of Tykwer's later films, though his good directing style is still present. However, those looking for an interesting philosophical drama/romance might want to check it out."
Not another Run Lola Run? You bet...
K. Vuthi | new york, ny | 10/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...much better. No question that Lola is a great movie, but turn off the soundtrack and it might get boring. This reminds me one of O'Henry's stories. Winter Sleepers takes it from a different angle. Not how the things might come if we miss by a minute the train or the bus, or if we take right or left. Winter Sleepers is deep. It tells you of what happens to us,is a reflection of how we behave in life itself...And we strugle to remember things we've done, to find explanation,no wonder!"
askquestionslater | new york, USA | 09/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"a great looking film about characters whose lives keep affecting eachother in ways that they themselves seem to be oblivious to. a film about twists of fate, winter sleepers is at parts slow and probably too clever at times for its own good, but none of this really matters. the film is hauntingly beautiful to look at, with amazing scenery, music , and atmosphere. great performances as well. just a well done, pretty film that deserves way more attention than it has received."