Bandits (1997) / Drama

MPAA Rated: R for language, sexuality and some drug use
Running Time: 110 min.

Cast: Jasmin Tabatabai, Katja Riemann, Nicolette Krebitz, Jutta Hoffman
Director: Katja von Garnier
Screenplay: Uwe Wilhelm, Katja von Garnier

Review published April 21, 2001

BANDITS casts four female prison inmates who spend their spare time in a band playing rock tunes in the prison chapel.  While on their way to playing at a police ball, the quartet make their escape.  Initially, they are disappointed that their jailbreak isn't the big news around Germany, but soon a record label they sent a demo tape to signs them up and they gain notoriety and fame throughout the country.  They are still wanted by the police, but their celebrity status has made them heroes among the people who listen to their music.

As a film, it's all very superficial and nonsensical, playing more like a long music video than an actual story for much of the running time.  There is a wafer-thin story there to hold the music together, but it's the terrific songs by the band (dubbed "Bandits" for reasons other than the fact that they are a band full of convicts) where the film score the lion's share of points.  The leads are well-cast according to type, although their characters are more caricature than anything else.  For a modern updating of A HARD DAY'S NIGHT with females, BANDITS offers some mindlessly entertaining escapism, shot with visual flair by Katka von Garnier.

Don't expect a conventional film.  BANDITS is nothing more than a rock video fantasy, so do like you'd do watching MTV...shut off your brain and admire the good music and emotional imagery that flashes before your eyes for the duration.

Qwipster's rating:

2001 Vince Leo