Bandits

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: Katja von Garnier

REVIEWED: 11-08-99

Tired perhaps of being regarded as dreary and longwinded, German cinema of late has sped up. Following the breakneck cleverness of Run, Lola, Run is the frenetic MTV-style high jinks of Katja von Garnier's Bandits, a sourly exploitative but briskly paced trifle. Four women imprisoned for what amount to crimes against the patriarchy -- murdering abusive boyfriends, for example -- find time between spot body-cavity searches to form a pop-rock band. Chosen to play at a policeman's ball in a misconceived hope they'll rehabilitate, they turn their drunken guard's rape attempt into a prison break and are pursued in a relentless womanhunt.

What follows is Thelma & Louise by way of the Monkees, as the free publicity of their escape launches their recording career and every encounter with the dumb-ass law or bug-eyed fans eases into an easy-listening music-video montage (the lyrics are all in English). Its glibness curdled by an emphasis on crudeness (the name comes from "band" and "tits") and crass stereotypes, Bandits still can't shake its Germanic pessimism or its fascination with death, which in the end proves a lot more memorable than the film's ephemeral melodies.

--Peter Keough

Full Length Reviews
Bandits

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