Promotional Poster by X-Filme Creative Pool
Dying my hair has never been on my bucket list….not that it would fit the Archer dress code anyways. But after following Lola through the streets of Berlin with a fiery red bob, I may have to rethink my decision.
Lola, brought to life by actress Franka Potente, is the spunky protagonist in the German film “Run Lola Run,” written and directed by Tom Tykwer. The foreign film, dubbed with English subtitles, was released in 1998 (1999 in the United States), though its ancient release date should not scare away any young viewers; this movie is anything but old fashion and boring.
For one, the crime-drama’s plot is set up like the objective of a video game: Lola has 20 minutes to get 100,000 Deutschmarks for her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) or else he will be killed. Manni, a not-so-bright bagman, has lost the money on the subway and is now in debt to a gangster. As his desperation results in attempted robbery, Lola takes to the streets scouring every resource she has, such as her vile father, an unsuspecting grocery store, a casino and whatever more Berlin has to offer. And as one can guess from the title, she does all this while running. So run, Lola, run!
Lola dashes through the streets of Berlin with a scintillating power. Perhaps it’s because of her Raggedy-Ann hair or the 90’s tank top and plaid pants or her glass-shattering scream (that really does end up shattering glass). Either way, just like Lola, you will not be able to catch your breath.
Or maybe you can? Tykwer tells Lola’s 20 minutes adventure not just once, but three different times each beginning with a desperate phone call from Manni. Small differences in the plot send characters down different alleys (both literally and figuratively), ultimately affecting their outcome and fate each reset of time. The viewer is compelled into a conversation of freewill, happenstance and the butterfly effect.
Is it the eclectic filming style, or clear-cut yet gripping storyline or simply Lola’s daring spirit that packs a punch in the 81-minute film? Who knows?
Well actually, I do. It’s the fact that tearing your eyes away from the screen risks missing one of the details loaded into the film. Teeming with visual gags, irony, speeding ambulances and sheets of glass that appear trivial until altered in later realities, the film tests your mind’s speed as the plot tests Lola’s actual speed.
Though I didn’t get to know Manni and Lola very well during all the chaos, their urgency paints the familiar story of devoted young lovers, though a bit more deadly than classic love stories. The ill-fated side characters are brilliantly developed through 10-second life summaries displayed in a slideshow of pictures that change with each reset of time.
The techno soundtrack keeps the movie moving at blazing speed. Mundane is a word of the past as the film switches from typical cinematography, to still photographs, to slow motion, and eventually animation where Lola becomes your dream childhood animated hero taking on the world, and that vicious dog she keeps encountering. The film’s 93% rotten tomatoes really does do it justice.
Lola runs through her journey without even breaking a sweat. Will you?