Movie Review: Run Lola Run (1998)


Title: Lola rennt
Release Date: 20 August 1998
Director: Tom Tykwer
Production Company: X-Filme Creative Pool | WDR | Arte
Summary/Review:

In the summer of 1999, everyone was agog over The Blair Witch Project.  So one night I met up with some friends at the cinema, waited in a long line, and when we got to the front learned that all showings of The Blair Witch Project were sold out.  So we ended up seeing a German art film, Run Lola Run, instead. Run Lola Run quickly became one of my all time favorite movies, while I still haven’t seen The Blair Witch Project.

Set in Berlin (and incorporating the city as a character), the movie stars Franka Potente as Lola, a young woman who must find 100,000 Deutschmarks in 20 minutes.  Her doofy boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) is a bagman for a mob boss and lost the bag of money he was supposed to deliver and will meet certain execution if the money is not replaced.  As the title implies, Lola runs through the streets of Berlin trying to find the money, primarily from her estranged father who is a banker (Herbert Knaup).

What makes the movie unique is that the story is told three times with Lola’s split-second decisions affecting the outcome of her story and of the people she comes in contact with.  It’s basically the hip version of Sliding Doors which came out the same year.  People have compared it to a video game where one can start over after dying and keep trying to get it right.  The movie features a lot of innovative camera techniques for the time it was released, although they may seem clichéd after a few decades of overuse. In addition to the great visuals the film is expertly scored to a techno soundtrack on which Potente provides many of the vocals.

The movie is an exercise in efficiency getting across the basic plot points swiftly but still bearing emotional heft.  I’d completely forgotten that the movie also intercuts animation with the live action sequences that makes it a fun touch.  There are probably some deep philosophical issues that can be discussed in regard to this movie.  But I like it just for the pure energy it brings to telling a story about love and fate.

Rating: ****1/2

5 thoughts on “Movie Review: Run Lola Run (1998)

  1. Liam, iirc this movie is part of a trilogy. I remember when I saw it I was impressed with it and went looking for more info. One thing I remember is that the actress who played Lola did not wash her hair throughout the filming because she/they didn’t want the dye to shift shades and to be noticeable in the finished product.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love this movie! I didn’t pick up on this the first time I saw it, but the movie makes a few references to quantum physics. So my own interpretation is that Lola is sort of like a quantum computer, testing every possible course of action simultaneously then selecting the one course that works for her.

    Liked by 1 person

Your comments are welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.