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"I'll think of something!"
Run Lola Run (DVD)
Member Name: Jake Speed
Run Lola Run (DVD)
Advantages: Inventive, fun
Disadvantages: Nothing major
A hyperactive adrenaline rush indie German Groundhog Day with a thumping techno soundtrack, Run Lola Run is a tight, inventive and generally very likeable film that pulses and simmers with energy and nice visual ideas. Central to the appeal of Run Lola Run is Franka Potente pounding the streets of Berlin in jeans and a tank top with a vivid shock of punkish red hair - the actress a lot more unconventional (and athletic) than your standard Hollywood bimbo and far more interesting as a consequence. Run Lola Run has a kinetic stream-of-consciousness energy, quite an addictive quality, and even manages to slide in a few ruminations on fate, randomness, existence and how the smallest of incidents can somehow alter the whole course of somebody's life. It begins with a quote by TS Eliot ("We shall not cease from exploration...and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started...and know the place for the first time") and then some football themed philosophy which ends with the (mildly Stuart Hallesque) observation that, "The ball is round. The game lasts minutes. That's a fact. Everything else is pure theory!"
Each of Lola's three different runs begins after the alarming telephone call from a distraught Manni confessing that he has messed up and is now in very big trouble. The film even morphs briefly into cartoon form as Lola descends the stars to begin - like a computer game restarting. We see how each of the runs varies in small, intricate little details and how this affects the strangers she bumps into or nudges along the way on the street - sort of like a butterfly effect - with a future flash of their lives appearing in still images, each one of course different in the three alternative runs. Aside from the three different scenarios we also get some flashbacks in black and white of Lola and Manni together, a device used to flesh the characters out a little and make us like them more. The energy and directness of the film plus the use of stills, black and white, animation and slow motion generally means everything is thrown at the screen for the sake of an entertaining show but despite its brief running time - and the on the face of it gimmicky construction - Run Lola Run never really feels like a shallow film. Although it only clocks in at eighty or so minutes, this is far more rewarding and entertaining than most of the (far more expensive) fare that Hollywood can muster.
Run Lola Run seems to owe something to the famous opening sequence of Danny Boyle's Trainspotting where Renton and co are being chased down an Edinburgh street to the strains of Iggy Pop. It's as if someone thought, why not make a whole film in that whiplash style? There is something very refreshing about the simplicity of someone running helter-skelter through the streets with Potente's red hair/look surely inspired by Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element! Although there are a fusion of influences with the previously mentioned Groundhog Day and Trainspotting - we also get some Tarantinoesque moments in banks and supermarkets - Run Lola Run still feels very much like its own film rather than something that is too jarringly derivative of other works. A big part of the fun of the picture is of course the minute variations that occur with each of Lola's attempts to get the money to Manni. Lola's actions when faced with a car or pedestrian could have profound circumstances that will affect everything.
The fact that these three separate stories are completely unrelated, as if they all occurred in parallel universes, means that we can almost pick which one we like the best, Lola of course having no knowledge the previous one to use when she sets off again. We threaten to veer in melodrama a few times - when Lola discovers her father has a mistress at the bank - but the film is admirably lean and keeps moving forward with purpose and energy. Berlin is used to good effect in the film too and makes for an interesting location and there are plenty of little moments that linger in the memory like Lola mentally flashing through a list of people who she could approach for the money and quickly settling on her banker father as the only - although by no means easy - option and her piercing scream at a casino. Run Lola Run is always suitably gripping and entertaining and structured around a simple premise that presumably was fairly inexpensive to bring to the screen. It's a good example of what Hollywood and the British film industry should be doing more of - clever little films with plenty of verve and spirit. Run Lola Run is a lot of fun on the whole and recommended to anyone who has never got around to watching it yet.
Summary: Cult German film