Run Lola Run Reviews
Clearly influenced by films like Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting, and having an influence on the films of Edgar Wright, German director Tom Tykwer's 1998 thriller Run Lola Run is quite simply one of the most exciting, fast paced and imaginative thrillers of the nineties. From the opening animated title sequence, the long tracking shots of Lola's journey and the original flourishes (photo sequences show us the probable future of various characters Lola bumps into), Run Lola Run feels like it can't allow itself to slow down, and it practically never does. The camerawork is some of the finest you'll see, twisting, flying and practically gliding down the beautifully shot streets of Germany. Though there are a few grainy, handheld style shots which do jar when contrasted with the fantastic cinematography of Lola's scenes, the rest of the film is just gorgeous to look at, and when you discover the film was made for under $2 million, it's astounding to see what you can do when you have infinite talent, infinite creativity and infinite energy.
While it is fair to say occasionally the running sequences do last too long and lose some of their energy, by the third go at success, you'll be on your seat. Director Tykwer knows how to make a dumb, fun thriller but he does manage to keep in a sense of the arthouse. What other action film features a character die and then flash to a long and cryptic bedroom conversation about love and death? Meanwhile, the use of the "try again" multiple versions of the same plot gives Tykwer the excuse to both have his cake and eat it; he's allowed to make a dark, complex indie flick with depressing outcomes and beloved character deaths, and still allow us to punch the air and cheer by the end, in which the puzzle perfectly falls into place and offers one of the most enjoyable final scenes of all time. All of these devices would be nothing without its titular star, but as the crimson haired, incredibly put-upon heroine of the piece, Franka Potente is brilliant. Later to be seen in The Bourne Identity, here she gives a performance that hits just about every note you could want her to hit; she's calm and intelligent when consoling Manni; completely despairing when her world begins to crash down; charming and loveable in the quieter, more romantic scenes; and simply a sheer badass when she takes matters into her own hands. Action cinema needs more kick-ass female leads like Potente in Run Lola Run, and she ranks right up there with Ellen Ripley and The Bride as one of the finest heroines in cinema.
With ultra kinetic visuals, a blackly comic and often very sad script, plenty of top notch action and a pitch perfect leading performance from Potente, Run Lola Run is one of the most insane thrill rides in all of action cinema, and fifteen years on from its original release, it's still as exciting, imaginative as influential as ever.
Don“t miss it. A really must one!
Outside of films relating to Germany's involvement in the two world wars, I can't say that I have had much of an experience with German cinema. It's interesting to see a film like Run Lola Run because it is not heavily indebted to cultural values but is simply a German production attempting to be a stylish thriller. There is no denying that it succeeds at this.
Run Lola Run immediately kicks off at an incredibly fast pace. Establishing the context of the entire story over the means of a single conversation, Run Lola Run sets up a simple story which paves the way for an alternative style of storytelling in which the viewer experiences very much the same story three times with key differences in small plot points upon each episode. The gimmick of the unconventional narrative structure in Run Lola Run is the gimmick that supports Run Lola Run's lasting value amid the overall simplicity of its main narrative. The concept in Run Lola Run revolves around just how much in life can change on the basis of the most insignificant occurrences. Protagonist Lola has 20 minutes to reach her boyfriend and ensure he has the appropriate finances to save his life, and each run is slightly different based on the experience she has with a tenant in her apartment block at the beginning of her run. This theme isn't explored through the topic of discussion, it is the entire staple of the narrative drive and is explored further through the many characters Lola encounters in her run which is revealed through the momentary flash of several snapshots before returning to Lola's path. The entire concept of the three-episode structure of the same story offers a brilliant twist on a smile story which paves the way for an exploration of style.
There isn't much substance in terms of character development or genuine dramatic depth for the majority of the film, but the manic pace of the experience helps viewers to keep distracted from this all. The soundtrack to Run Lola Run is a strong factor influencing its ability to consistently maintain atmosphere as the fast-paced beat remains steadily consistent over the course of the faster scenes of the film, pulling back to be subtler when the feature slows down to emphasize character drama. The entire film is a massive rush, and is very atmospheric in capturing this which manages to keep viewers deeply ingrained in the exhilaration and beauty of the experience. And with only 81 minutes of running time, the film definitely does not overstay its welcome.
Visually, Run Lola Run has a very distinctive grace to it. Coming out during the era of the cinema du look movement in France, Run Lola Run seems to have the same sort of colour scheme popularized by that style of filmmaking. There is a light tint of white in everything which brightens up the experience and almost adds a sense of surrealism to the experience, reinforcing the zany nature of the story structure. There is also strong brilliance in the cinematography because it proves to keep up with Franka Potente's fast movements throughout all the scenery with a combination of extended shots and quick editing. As a result, Franka Potente is truly challenged to push her maximum athleticism into the part and it is captured with many smooth-gliding tracking shots and other techniques. Amid all this, the German scenery of Run Lola Run remains gorgeous and provides an enticing backdrop to the journey.
Also, the way certain shots of Run Lola Run are edited to cut frames out works a lot better than in Hollywood productions. Rather than overdoing the gimmick to speed things up beyond a state of visual comprehension, Run Lola Run mediates this technique so that it is only used sparingly. As a result, the brief bursts of speed brought on by this editing merely reinforce the exhilaration of Run Lola Run. Though I wouldn't exactly call it an action film, Run Lola Run's extended sequences of Lola's journey on foot are captured with such tenacious energy that it perfectly mirrors the frantic speed of the feature.
Although characterization takes a back seat to style in Run Lola Run, the film is not bereft of character. Thanks to the power of Franka Potente's leading performance in the titular role, Run Lola Run carries a strong protagonist. Most of the film challenges her to prove her physical power in running long distances and maintaining a state of tension the entire time which she proves easily capable of. But between all the extended periods of sprinting are momentary glimpes of her character's insecurities and vulnerabilities. Franka Potente manages to find a real character in her role and captures some beautiful interactions with Moritz Bleibtreu. The entire reason Lola is running is for the love of her boyfriend Manni, and within the transition scenes between narrative episodes she has brief moments to convey the kind of connection the two share. They are very restrained in tension and focused simply on putting as much heart into their words as they can, and it creates some really wonderful character moments. Moritz Bleibtreu delivers an intense supporting effort, but with the limitations on his screen time there is only so much of an impact that he can make. The character potential of the narrative is all reliant on Franka Potente who easily delivers. Franka Potente has the appearance of a comic book character due to the rich colour of her attire and particularly her red hair which makes her easily a memorable character, but it's the physical and emotional ambition of her dedication that truly propels her to stardom.
Run Lola Run may offer a simple story, but the innovation lies all in the brilliance of its narrative structure, themes and fast pace while Tom Tykwer's brilliant eye for imagery provides a spectacle for the talents of Franka Potente.