Monday, April 23, 2007

Movie Mini Review: Run Lola Run

Title: Run Lola Run (Lola rennt)

Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri

Plot summary:

Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks and get it to her boyfriend, Manni, who lost a bag full of cash during a botched diamond smuggling operation. If she's not there on time, Manni will be sleeping with the fishes courtesy of the German Tony Soprano.

My thoughts:

This is another film that has been on the DVR for a few months now, so when my Supermodel Wife and I had some unexpected free time last week, we cued it up.

I had a vague idea of what the movie was about. I remember it receiving some good press when it was released in 1998, even winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival. But despite the title, I wasn't quite prepared for the pace set by director Tom Tykwer. There is literally only a few minutes before the action starts for the characters.

I thought the acting was strong for the main characters. Even though my knowledge of the German language is limited to schadenfreude and fahrvergnügen, the sexy Franka Potente did an excellent job of conveying her character's fear, anger and frustration -- sometime all at once.

The acting, combined with the video editing and a driving techno soundtrack did a great job of conveying the feeling of urgency and intensity that I think Tykwer was going for.

And the plot line was a nice change of pace. Like a couple of my other favorite movies, Pulp Fiction and Memento, Lola employs a non-linear storytelling device. The first twenty minutes advance through a story and then repeat back to the beginning. The story then unfolds again, but this time with slight changes in seemingly insignificant details that lead to major changes in the outcome.

The advantage of this is that it gives the two principal actors that much sought-after death scene (sorry for the spoiler if you haven't seen this one yet, but c'mon, it's been out for nine years), while at the same time keeping them around for the ending.

The one thing that still bothers me is that Tykwer gave no reason within the world of the story for the characters to repeat the last 20 minutes. Perhaps it makes sense in the original German, but it didn't translate for me and I felt a little shortchanged because of it.

But I was happy with the examination of this sort of quantum principal that other worlds exist depending on what choice we make, what we observe and do at any given moment. It would be nice to have the kind of "do overs" in real life that Lola and Manni had in this film.

My final rating: Definitely see it again.

Favorite quote:
"The ball is round, a game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory. Off we go!"

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  1. I can't believe I haven't seen this. I need to get it. Is it on the European disc only?


  2. Randall,

    This should be readily available at BlockBuster or NetFlix. Definitely worth the rental. Be sure to let me know what you think after you've seen it.

  3. Nice review. I liked it very much, too--especially the end's odd release of the tension that, as you note, had been building and building ever since the opening scene.

    Oh--and about spoiling ends: A couple of years ago I read something online in which the writer said people had recently gotten angry with him for revealing what "Rosebud" turns out to be. Among some, there's no statute of limitations.

  4. "Rosebud"? That's from Dumb and Dumber, right?

    Anyway, I figure I didn't so much give away the ending, as the middle.


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