A year before he made Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer, the dazzling pop-metaphysical German stylist, directed Winter Sleepers, a brooding, angst-ridden variation on some of teh same themes of love, karma, and split-second desting. The movie is only now being released in the U.S. to capitalize ont he success of Lola, and you can see why no one was eager to distribute it before. It’s slow and pretentious, full of craggy Bavarian snowscapes and dour ”mystical” portents that seem to circle back to nothing but themselves.
Still, this scattershot spellbinder shows off Tykwers’s talent in every chilly, elliptical frame. Structured around a road accident, it’s like a meticulously photographed cross between The Sweet Hereafter and Blow-Up, with five attractive, quarrelsome characters creeping in and out of romantic intimacy as the audience pieces together their relationships to one another and to the fateful collision that ends up binding them all. The trouble is, the connections have no resonance outside of the arty atmospherics of puzzle-movie form. Winter Sleepers isn’t boring, exactly, but it’s a beautiful, gloomy void.