Run Lola Run
- Franka Potente as Lola
- Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni
A blistering and electrifying exercise in visual style and white knuckle thrills, Run Lola Run bursts onto the screen and pulls you along with its innovative approach and unforgettable heroine.
Young, flame-haired Lola receives a desperate and panicked call from her boyfriend Manni. He is an errand boy for a local criminal and while taking money to his feared boss, he misplaced it on the train. If Manni doesn’t get 100,000 marks in 20 minutes he will most likely be killed or Manni will rob a supermarket to get the funds. Lola rushes out the door to save her beloved from sudden death or doing something incredibly stupid. Thinking on her feet, she scrambles to find that amount of money while on the clock, that continues to count down to potential doom. Lola’s journey is depicted in three versions, each with a differing outcome to the last and emblazoned with little changes. Yet which outcome will be the most successful for Lola in order to snatch Manni from the jaws of death or a prison cell?
Tom Tykwer and his direction is masterful to say the least here in this breakneck thriller. His sheer command over the lightening-paced story is second to none and he sure knows how to pull out the visuals that make this film so well-known. From whip pans and zooming close-ups, to a little animated scene, Tykwer is ambitious but immensely talented at imbuing the piece with a beating intensity. The way that Lola is given three tries at gaining the money is reminiscent of a video game, where chances are employed to attempt again. Yet unlike video games that can get extremely repetitive, Run Lola Run has a deeper understanding and command to sustain the interest. For a movie of such a short running time, Run Lola Run crams a lot in but it never feels overstuffed or bursting from too much. Instead, the smooth direction and constantly kinetic pace draws you into the versions of Lola’s desperate run to save her lover’s life. In the moments of quiet from the rest of the unrelenting running, we glimpse Lola and Manni engaging in a sort of philosophical pillow talk. Many of the things they say foreshadow events that will later come and provides us with a surprising emotional backbone to the film. The plot is simple when you boil it down, but the effective execution is what truly makes Run Lola Run an experience to be witnessed. Observing the subtle differences in each of the three segments is something to behold as the themes of chance and fate are introduced to the mix with each new take on the 20 minutes. The movie taps into the feeling that we don’t quite realise how chance encounters with others and seemingly ordinary events have a massive impact on the lives of others. This is captured through the quick shots of futures belonging to people who Lola passes on her run and they are hugely immersive. Surprises abound too as the clock ticks down for both the film and Lola’s plans to get the required money before Manni does something unwise. The pounding techno score matches the roller coaster of events and the almost constant running of the title character, rhythmically mirroring her frantic steps and desperate actions.
Franka Potente thrills and arrests with you her gaze as the title character. Physically, she is excellent for the part with her athletic figure and unmistakable shock of red hair. Yet her biggest triumph is in the moments when Lola displays that she is really an ordinary woman in a circumstance that is growing more intense. Her sense of honesty and piercing eyes is what makes Run Lola Run a deeply intense experience. Moritz Bleibtreu also impresses as the doltish Manni, whose day could go from bad to worse depending on the outcome of Lola’s run. He may be a two-bit criminal, but you do feel a bit of sympathy for Manni in his predicament. When they are together, both stars work very well. And even when apart, they do some great work, particularly Franka Potente in the lead.
Stylish from every angle, scored with a fast-paced intensity and just all round breathtaking, Run Lola Run can best be described as the movie thriller equivalent of an assault course in the best possible way.