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Run Lola Run
1998 - R - 81 Mins.
Director: Tom Tykwer
Producer: Stephen Arndt
Written By: Tom Tykwer
Starring: Franka Potente, Ludger Pistor, Nina Petri, Armin Rohde
Review by: Joe Rickey
Director Tom Tykwer has created a complicated motion picture with the German film, ‘Run Lola Run.’ It is a film that is anything but easy to decipher in one viewing. Instead, ‘Run Lola Run’ demands multiple viewings because it's likely you'll miss various facets the first time around. It is a film in which the same story is repeated three different times with slight variations. Its kinetic style is perhaps the foremost reason that the average viewer is not going to be able to notice every little nuance the first time out.

One of the key themes that dominates the film is that of willpower. It is this character trait brought out from within Lola that, after multiple trials and tribulations, allows her to conquer those oppressing her.

Lola has had one tough day. She just found out that her boyfriend, Manni has fouled up a diamond deal with a dealer who goes by the name Ronni. He has managed to lose a bag containing 100,000 marks. To save his life, Manni asks Lola, his girlfriend of one year, for help. She goes through multiple trials and countless tribulations in her quest(s) to aid Manni.

Throughout the film, Lola is a subservient vessel through which other people have told her what to do. Manni tells her to help him and she does, like a prototypical female character in film. But Lola eventually reaches a point where she's no longer willing to be submissive.

At one point, Lola is told that she cannot enter a casino dressed as she is. It's a trigger that makes Lola realizes that others are trying to keep her down; trying to prevent her from achieving her goal, and she will not stand for it any longer. Lola is being kept down by her oppressors -- whether the oppressors be her boyfriend, an ambulance driver or a casino employee. Lola’s interaction with the casino employee is her turning point. She has formulated a sense of courage that she definitely is not going to let go to waste.

Later in a conversation with the casino cashier, Lola is informed that she is short. It appears that she did not bring enough money to be able to purchase the necessary chips. The camera moves from just behind her frame where the teller was in view off to the right to focus on Lola’s face. The quick cut to her face wearing a look of perseverance is perhaps the perfect exemplification of Lola's growing self-confidence.

The style of ‘Run Lola Run’ can kindly be referred to as frenetic or deliriously fast-paced. The camera is always on the move and the consistently up-tempo music accentuates the pace. At first all the audio-visual mayhem may seem rather random and otherwise pointless but in ‘Run Lola Run’ this dynamic approach by director Tom Tykwer is wholly congruous. For one, on a purely superficial level, the film is telling what are essentially three different variations on one idea. Therefore, it would seem almost a necessity that the film contain a unique blend of music and camerawork just so the viewer is not bored by watching the film progress.

On a different level, the style utilized by Tykwer reinforces that time is running out for Lola and Manni to retrieve the money. Their fates are intertwined once Lola has given herself over in the name of love. Since there simply isn't enough time for everything to progress smoothly, an element of chance is inevitable.

There is also an apt use of animation to drive home the unreality of the situation. The film could be considered a continuous countdown as twenty minutes ticks away. Clocks are present in multiple scenes and occasionally breaking when Lola lets out one of her signature shrieks of willpower.

‘Run Lola Run’ is one of the most original films that I have ever seen. It combines an absolutely beautiful mix of imagery, storytelling, and music selection to make for one rare viewing experience. The film’s combination of a seemingly simple plotline with thematically diverse ideas also makes for an effectively deceptive film that can be enjoyed on different levels. One can admire the visuals and the music, or the themes of willpower, fate and chance.
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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