Film: Run Lola Run (German, 1998)

4/2/11

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess it’s a probable 50/50 chance that you may… or may not have seen this film   Cuz for many readers in their 20s...you’d have to be a lil baby swinging on a swing set at the playground when this came out...so chances are you might not have caught ‘Run Lola Run’…an undeniable core film experience for any cinefile.  

Here’s the situation. Fiery punk rock and red headed, Lola has 20 minutes to acquire in any way humanly possible, 100,000 German Marks.  Why, you may ask?  Well her boyfriend lost it to the mob (nice going, dude)…and basically she needs to save her boyfriends life.

In short, the audience is treated to 3 adrenaline filled different scenarios as Lola literally runs full tilt in her mind on how to get this money…with the final and third scenario, Lola takes action in real life makes all the right moves…or does she?

This is a total manic, high octane, smart and deliciously original presentation of a film.

Directed by Tom Tykwer is an ingenious demonstration of how even the tiniest decisions we make can have a massive effect on our…or other people’s life forever. Run Lola Run explores some uncontrollable factors of fate and how the “what ifs” can easily alter the subsequent events and “what might have beens.” 

My favorite parts were the internal ‘...and then’ segments where we see the flash-forward lives in 20 seconds of the different characters Lola (Franka Potente) encounters on her epic triage of runs. I’d say she is one of the reasons why this movie is riveting—her quirkiness, no-nonsense approach to life, even her fiery red anime-ish hairstyle all add a fresh, distinct character to the film.

In 80 minutes give or take, this one-of-a-kind masterpiece incorporates the elements of animation, still shots, slow and fast motion, black and white camera, techno beats with three versions of the same story. And each version equally concludes with a jolting revelation, keeping the audience speculating until the final frame.  

Let’s not also forget the fantastic Run Lola Run soundtrack, which is an electronic modern film score by Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil.

Synopsis

Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) has to deliver a bag of 100,000 Deutsche Marks to his mob boss. Unfortunately, he lost it on a train,  taken by a homeless man, and desperately needs the money delivered to his boss by noon or else risk himself being killed.

Frustrated and frightened, he calls his girlfriend, Lola (Franka Potente), to ask for help in raising the money in 20-minutes; otherwise, he is going to rob a local grocery store.

Desperate to save her boyfriend, Lola says to wait and assures Manni that she can somehow obtain the money that he needs within 20-minutes. Lola immediately starts thinking (and running) on how to help the man in her life.  

From that point on, Run Lola Run takes us through three different 20-minute tales of Lola’s obstacles trying to find money—including the result of each run, the twists and surprises, and the lives that changed afterwards.