Two years ago, Tom Tykwer dazzled audiences with the time-bending narrative splices of Run Lola Run. The few stopwatch tricks he applies to his latest film, The Princess and the Warrior, may feel like mere afterthoughts; so forget about Lola, and concentrate instead on the serenity — spiked with downtown cool — of Franka Potente, Tykwer’s girlfriend and muse.
Here she plays Sissi, an empathetic nurse in a psychiatric hospital, whose fate crosses with that of Bodo (Benno Furmann), a weeping small-time crook who saves her life when she’s hit by a truck. Out of that chance encounter, Sissi feels love; fortified by love, Bodo feels hope. Ponderous when indulging in the mysteries of chance and destiny, the movie is also arresting when absorbed in the details of Sissi’s unorthodox living and working environment among unstable patients. Every person’s behavior, Tykwer demonstrates with a flourish, is ultimately a matter of chance.