The only film of Tom Tykwer’s that I’ve seen prior to watching “Run Lola Run” last night was “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”, which I liked quite a bit. And although I am somewhat familiar with his other work I never really bothered to watch any of it. Why? I don’t know, just never got around to it. But now that the release of “Cloud Atlas” is just a few weeks away, a film Tykwer co-directed with Andy and Lana Wachowski of “The Matrix” fame, the least I could do is to watch his most well known film - “Run Lola Run”. And after doing so I must admit that I found it sublime.
What fascinated me the most about “Run Lola Run” is just the breakneck pacing of the film. It is quite exhilarating to watch Franka Potente’s Lola race down the street while accompanied by some heart-pounding techno music and stylish editing. I swear I could watch her run for hours, and a huge part of that is certainly the visual style of Lola’s character and the actress playing her.
The flaming red hair contrasted with her colored but pale wardrobe makes her look like a comic-book character. And in many ways she is a comic book character, with her matter of fact problem solving attitude and impenetrable will. Even beyond that, Lola makes weird shit happen.
But these more fantastic elements are very much supported by the punkish style of the film. Visually this stylization is brought out through various cool editing techniques like rhythmical cuts and split-screen. The cinematography is very dynamic as well, the camera rarely rests and the colors just pop while the repetitive techno beats of the music further accentuate this dynamic nature of the film as well as the main theme of the film, which is obviously repetition.
Repetition is everywhere in this film and it is expressed primarily through the three runs Lola performs in order to rescue her lover Manni. Each time she faces the same series of obstacles but deals with them differently. The point that the movie is trying to bring across is how we’re all very much affected by causality, and how our actions can have long reaching effects on others and vice versa. And what “Run Lola Run” does through the magic of film is to have Lola’s superhuman willpower defy the laws of nature and redo the past after a fatal mistake, and learn from her prior runs.
This is a great thematic element of the film and a great commentary on the power of cinematic storytelling. It openly shatters any predefined allusions about film and the rules of narrative and plays ping-pong with such silly notions. It drives home the point that anything and everything is possible in cinema as long as you create a world and characters that support it. It’s something that the filmmakers of the French New Wave pioneered, and here Tykwer manages to proudly carry the torch onward.
“Run Lola Run” is a great little action drama with an ingenious storytelling device. The mentioned exhilarating pacing, the style and the overall beauty of the film make it a very satisfying and rewarding experience.
Original title: Lola Rennt
Franka Potente - Lola
Moritz Bleibtreu - Manni
Herbert Knupp - Vater
Ludger Pistor - Herr Meier
Nina Petri - Jutta
Original language: German
Run Lola Run on IMDb