From the director of fast-cut frenzy Run Lola Run comes Winter Sleepers, a breathtaking, original film. The scene is set in a small German ski town. Laura (Marie-Lou Sellem) and (Rebecca Floriane Daniel) live together in an inherited cottage; Rebecca has begun a relationship with jockish ski instructor Marco (Heino Ferch) while Laura mounts a slow interest in the creepy town projectionist (Ulrich Matthes). Matthes' performance is gripping as he exudes a sly dark intensity that warms up and develops unexpectedly but with ease. A freak accident brings a bankrupt farmer and his comatose daughter into the picture, adding a well-rendered twist of pathos and the European class consciousness so foreign to Hollywood.
While the script is first-rate, director Tom Tykwer's visual approach and pacing is stunning. Simply put, Winter Sleepers is a pleasure to watch. In tracing these days in the characters' lives, the narration moves deftly. Tykwer works cinematographic techniques with an excellent sense of rhythm, mixing understatement and activity. A scene in which the farmer looks at his dying daughter is one long, poignant still shot that segues into an almost comic episode in the girls' cottage framed with lively camerawork. The backdrop of the mountain looms to the foreground by the film's end, when the repercussions of the accident manifest fully.