RUN LOLA RUN —-and man, does she ever, in this non-stop adrenaline rush/what’s it all mean?/ pop-punk classic from Germany in 1998, written & directed by Tom Tykwer. He also helped on the pulsating soundtrack, with Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek. Fluid cinematography was gifted from Frank Griebe, lightning-strike editing was delivered by Mathilde Bonnefoy. A sparse $1,750,000 was expended; a galvanic critical response helped cue the public, who then anointed the 80-minute thriller with a gross of $22,900,000. *
‘Lola’ (Franka Potente) gets a panicky phone call from ‘Manni’ (Moritz Bleibtreu), her less-than-Einsteinian boyfriend, doing a money-drop for a drug dealer. Manni foolishly left a bag containing 100,000 Deutsche Marks on a subway, where it was grabbed by a homeless vagrant. If dummkopf Manni doesn’t get the money back—or from somewhere else—he’s bratwurst. And he needs it in twenty minutes. Off like a guided missile, Lola sprints through Berlin to get there in time, hurtling around, beside and over an array of characters, including breathless stops at her father’s bank and a casino. Will she make it?
Kind of Rashomon on legs, Tykwer creates a brilliant time-schizoid framework by having Lola’s run finish, then restart from scratch, and then yet again, with each of the three jogs passing the same crew but with different outcomes according to minute shifts in timing. Cause & effect and determinism contrast with free will, chance, the Butterfly Theory and just how damn quick Lola can react to dogs, cars and jerks. Animation, slo-motion, huge closeups, still captures, ingenious fast-forward ‘histories’ of those she meets on her rush cross town, and a throbbing techno beat keep pace with Lola’s delirious pavement pounding. With her day-glow red hair, angular, determined face, thought-lasering eyes and applause-worthy physical agility and stamina, 24-year-old Potente manages heroism and vulnerability, ferocity and fear, pours them all into a cut-down tank top and lime capris and hits the Berlin bricks with a vengeance.
Encountered during Lola’s run: Herbert Knaup, Armin Rohde, Nina Petri, Joachim Kroll and Julia Lindig.
* Other movies looking at alternate realities in 1998: Dark City, Fallen, City Of Angels, The Big Lebowski, The Truman Show, The X-Files, Pleasantville, What Dreams May Come and Meet Joe Black.