Run Lola Run (1998)

runlolarun_1998_poster
Run Lola Run (1998)
  • Time: 81 min
  • Genre: Action | Crime | Thriller
  • Director: Tom Tykwer
  • Cast: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup

Storyline:

Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manny. He lost 100,000 DM in a subway train that belongs to a very bad guy. Lola has 20 min to raise this amount and meet Manni. Otherwise, he will rob a store to get the money. Three different alternatives may happen depending on some minor event along Lola’s run.

One review

  • From the cradle to the grave. Where we come from and where we go. Where are we going? How do we know what we think we know? Isn’t it always the same question leading to the same answer? What if you never picked up that phone? How would that one decision alter the rest of your life? Not by much, really, you still die — it’s only the path that differs. These are the ponderings that fuel the slight but exhilaratingly executed premise of Run Lola Run.

    The title character is a twentysomething punkette whose boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) is in trouble. He needs 100,000 deutsche marks in 20 minutes or he will be dead. Seems he accidentally left that amount of money on a subway train and now some homeless bum has hit the jackpot. Manni’s boss isn’t the type to let such incidents go. Lola tells Manni she’ll get him the money somehow before the 20 minutes are up and the clock strikes noon. She better, he warns, or he’ll just go rob the supermarket across the street. Wait for me, she responds, I’ll be there.

    So off she dashes. Sprinting through the streets, bumping into people, almost and sometimes spilling onto cars. The whole mad race is relayed in three versions, all with varies fates for our heroine. Really quite democratic, don’t you think? Don’t like this ending? Don’t worry — here’s another!

    Written and directed by Tom Tykwer, this German film is unabashedly based on a gimmick but it works brilliantly. Whatever its philosophical musings on karma, predestination and free will, it is the action of moving forward that is the most resonant.

    Tykwer, along with Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, provides the propulsive music and plays with the film — he stops and starts it, slows it down and speeds it up, warps it and animates it, colors and black-and-whites it, splits the screen, alternates film stock. Passersby and bystanders aren’t ignored — seconds after Lola zooms past them, photographic snapshots show their fates. In one scenario, a bicyclist is happily married; in the other, he ends up indigent. The surprise of the film is that, even within this framework, you care for the secondary characters.

    In the center of it all is Franka Potente as Lola. Strong-boned and fit, she manages to find expression in the running. When standing still, she summons emotions of steeliness, vulnerability and despair with equal skill. Her flame-haired Lola is already an icon of the German youths and why not? The color invokes passion, danger, freedom. Lola rails against the Fates, the establishment, the futility of it all. She is not Mother Courage. Rather she is like any woman so in love that she will do anything to save her man.

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