Saturday, March 31, 2012


RUN, LOLA, RUN (1999)

Director/Screenplay: Tom Tykwer

“Run, Lola, Run,” is one of those films that just is, and it's insistent on it being that way. It doesn’t add or subtract from your life as a movie, neither can it be deciphered by the traditional standard of moviemaking. Yet, it doesn’t just simply exists, it rockets. It’s a hyper-kinetic display that both challenges and analyzes the minutia of chaos theory, and then does it again, and then again, and it could’ve done it a hundred more times. (Although three is enough) German filmmaker Tom Tykwer not only wrote and directed the film, he, along with Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil are also responsible for the movie’s soundtrack which is fast-beating insistent techno music that speeds along as quickly as its title character, racing towards crescendos and climaxes. It’s a movie that can easily be described. It breezes by at only 81 minutes, but it’s an exhausting 81 minutes that simultaneously drains you and reinvigorates you. The plot is simple. Lola (Franka Potente, from “The Bourne Identity”) has twenty minutes to get $100,000 to Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) or else he more than likely gets killed. Her moped has been stolen, so she has to run, and run she does. There’s no point in telling anything more, there isn’t any more. Lola runs, she runs so fast, sometimes she has to be animated in order to truly track her, and Tykwer does that. Her flaming red hair, blue mesh tank top and spandex leather pants are sprinting thru the streets of Berlin, each time seeing different results. She passes a couple people, with each pass during each of the three runs, we see numerous flash pictures of the future those person’s have, as though her passing of them will in some way lead to an alternative life choice because she flew by. There are many choices made by many of the characters, none of which I will reveal, for they’re better left found out by the viewer, and are intentionally pointless anyway. Sometimes I wonder whether or not Lola is aware of the past possible beat-the-clock scenarios as though she’s living through all of them and not simply the current one she’s in. Again, a factor that is as irrelevant as it can be life-altering. Tykwer is an incredibly talented filmmaker; a technician able to use every filmmaking technique imaginable from jump cuts to quick-cross cutting to freeze frames, the aforementioned animation, to split screen, there’s hardly a trick he didn’t throw into this film. The other films of his I’ve seen include “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” about a perfumer with an incomparable sense of smell who spends his life searching for all the senses he can collect, leading to disturbing and often shocking acts to do so. His latest movie, “3”, involved an older couple who each unknowingly begin having affairs with the same man. I’m still not completely sure “Perfume…” was a good movie but it was interesting, and it was certainly compelling to watch. (He also directed the Hollywood action thriller “The International”.) “Run, Lola, Run” is one of those rare movies that’s incomparable to other films.  It’s a seminal work that might not be an absolute masterpiece, but is an undeniable essential for cinephiles everywhere. It’s a movie that takes the barest of plots it can, just for the sake of pure experimentation, and actually has fun with it. Most films that try things just sit there as we see the experimenting, and just bore us, “Run, Lola, Run” is a shot of adrenaline in your coffee.

The movie begins with a philosophical line about soccer, strangely enough “The ball is round, a game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory. Off we go!” What’s that line about? Life, chaos theory, storytelling, movie making? Is it actually just about soccer? I think the line is about, whatever the hell you want to make it about, and that includes everything I just mentioned above and more. “Run, Lola, Run,”’s apparently emptiness is also strangely what makes the film so full of depth. Maybe it’s because there’s no purpose or rhyme or reason we can enjoy it more. Almost like our own little personal theories we come up with that we’re willing to, even for such a brief moment, like maybe for the length of a movie, believe to be utterly true. Lola has 20 minutes to get the cash, and get it to Manny, and, she has to run. Everything else, is whatever we want to make it out to be. “Run, Lola, Run,” is what Tykwer made it out to be. Off we go!

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