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    Run Lola Run

    Run and rewind

    "Lola" is trapped in a rock video with substance as she blazes through an exhausting, life-or-death (or both) race across Berlin.


    The choices we make in life, however small, can have a profound effect on our destiny. Or, conversely, these choices make no difference at all — — fate has already determined our ultimate course and every zig and zag along the way.

    Directed by: Tom Tykwer.
    Cast: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu.
    In German with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site | Official site (German) | All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    No matter to which of these hypotheses you ascribe, Tom Tykwer's exhilarating "Run Lola Run" reconsiders and re-executes the pitfalls, obstacles, and decisions its central character faces during the longest twenty minutes of her life. And it shows, with amazing dexterity and creativity, how a talented filmmaker can turn a simple storyline into an elaborate game of "what if . . .?"

    As the film opens, a frantic Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) is telephoning his girlfriend, Lola. Where was she? He completed the shady deal involving some hot Mercedes but Lola wasn't there to pick him up as arranged. So he wound up walking to the station but accidentally left the bag of cash on the train. Now he has only twenty minutes to deliver the missing 100,000DM to a bald-headed thug called Ronnie or he'll wind up with a bullet in his head, or worse. He needs Lola's help. Fast.

    Tykwer punctuates his film with inventive and-thens, as the denizens Lola encounters have their futures economically summarized in snap-happy Polaroid fashion " shrewd stabs at sex, religion, vice, death, and success.  

    Lola tells him to keep calm. She'll be there. She'll come up with something. "Just wait there for me, Manni" she urges. "Don't do anything stupid."

    It's 11:40am and Lola starts to run. She runs from her apartment and down the stairs (in animated form). She runs through the ornamental garden, down the street, across the plaza, over one railway bridge and under another, past strolling mothers, bicyclists, and nuns, to the German Transfer Bank where, she hopes, her father will help her out. Quickly. But her father is engaged in a serious conversation with an other woman. Lola's mother, on the other hand, is back in Lola's apartment muttering something about shampoo and Sagittarius.

    "Do you want to have a baby with me?" asks the woman of Lola's father in the grainy, close-up style of a sleazy daytime drama. "Yes." This is clearly not a good time to be asking her father for favors, so Lola bolts again.

      Run Lola Run
    The question, of course, is will Lola get to Manni, cash in hand, before the clock strikes noon? In Run Lola Run, the answer is yes, no, maybe . . . Along with the Rashomon-styled what-ifs envisioned by Tykwer, the relatively unknown director, punctuates his film with some inventive and-thens, as the denizens Lola encounters on her twenty-minute marathon have their futures economically summarized in snap-happy Polaroid fashion. Here Tykwer is non-discriminating in his shrewd stabs at sex, religion, vice, death, and success.

    As Lola, Franka Potente breezes through the film like the Olympic flame, her burning orange hair flying behind her as if her whole head were ablaze. Lola is a commanding figure in the film and an equally persuasive runner, driven by a pulsating soundtrack (by Tykwer and two of his collaborators) that matches her pace for pace, and breath for breath. The film has wit, style, and adrenaline to spare and its relatively brief 88 minutes are over all too quickly; one wonders what other fanciful scenarios the fast-witted Tykwer might have conceived.

    In German with English subtitles, "Run Lola Run" plays like a rock video with substance. It's superbly edited, visually thrilling at every turn, and an absolute rush.

    OCTOBER 1, 1999

    Reader comments on Run Lola Run:

  • Great Movie   from Michelle, Dec 1, 2000

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