Wintersleepers Review

Sweeping shots of snowcapped mountains, displayed against a thumping techno beat and cut in with introductory shots of various characters (complete with their names appearing on screen) packing up to go somewhere might give one the impression that Wintersleepers is about a heist. The momentum builds like wildfire in these opening sequences as the phrase 'Are you really leaving today' echoes throughout the various departures happening across the board. This momentum quickly dies, as does the hope for any bank robbing scenarios. What comes in its place is a much slower film which lumbers along (painstakingly at times) to a crisp, almost haunting close.

Tom Tykwer, the German director who exploded onto the international scene with Run Lola Run brings this odd story of mistaken identity and deathly fate to the screen with an awkward, but in some ways rewarding, slant.

Set in a winter resort in Bavaria (the scenery is breathtaking), the story follows the intertwining story of two roommates, their boyfriends and the devastation wreaked by a fatal accident. Laura and Rebecca live together in Rebecca's impressive winter bungalow, essentially sharing the space with Laura's slovenly ski-instructor boyfriend, Marco. When Marco's car is stolen by a drunken stranger (it has been left with the keys in it), the result is a devastating crash which ensues on a nearby road. When the drunken stranger hits a local farmer he flees the scene of the crime, leaving the farmer devastated with his young daughter thrown into a deep coma. The farmer is left with a vision of the assailant-- a strange snake-like scar on the back of his head.

The farmer then goes on a relentless search to find the man with the scar, angry that he is being blamed for the accident and his daughter's devastating state. When Rebecca begins to date the hit and run drunk driver in question, Renee, much is uncovered about what precisely happened during the crash and why it occurred as it did. Twyker follows the intertwined lives of these characters as their actions directly affect one another, unbeknownst to them.

The film certainly meanders, winding down seemingly pointless. Much of the film is spent exploring the antagonistic relationship of Laura and Marco and one can't help but wonder why. However, Twyker manages to pull these diverging storylines and characters together in the end for a powerful finale. The more interesting aspects of the film, namely the strange condition which plagues Renee, come together beautifully in the end.

Although it's at time difficult and even unenjoyable to watch, Wintersleepers finally ruminates on such large issues as death, fate and human nature. In some ways it brings to mind Atom Egoyan's masterful and devastating The Sweet Hereafter. And while Wintersleepers is unable to achieve the precision and direction The Sweet Hereafter maintains throughout, it does finally leave you with a similar despair.

Aka Winterschläfer.

Tykwer got back.

Facts and Figures

Production compaines: X-Filme

Reviews 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew



Starring: as René, as Laura, as Rebecca, as Marco Mullier, as Theo, as Nina, as Marita, as Otto, Saskia Vester as Anna