When describing the infamous shower scene in his legendary "Psycho", Alfred Hitchcock denied that the audience was
so horrified because of the story or that the main character was in trouble, but were excited by "pure film". Hitchcock
knew that cinema is a truly unique way to stir excitement and express artistic intent. Also, when one has so much to play
around with, so many ways to get the audience riled up, why settle for the norm? Why not take advantage of all film has to
offer? Tom Tykwers "Run Lola Run" is a perfect example of "pure film", a frenetic journey that is nothing
short of brilliant entertainment.
After the refreshingly original opening credits, we meet Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu),
a man in a bit of trouble with the mob. He needs 100,000 marks and fast; 20 minutes to be exact. So, his girlfriend Lola
(Franka Potente), who's had enough of his whining, runs off to try to get the money before the clock strikes 12. Go Lola!
So what's so special about that? In case you hadn't already figured it out, 20 minutes isn't exactly enough to fill
a full-legnth feature film. But never you worry, director/writer Tom Tykwer thought of this in advance. We are treated to
not one, not two, but three versions of this story, exploring all (or most) of the possible ways that this situation could
have played out. This works surprisingly well. I never got tired of the concept, and by the end, I wanted to go back and
see the whole thing over again.
"Run Lola Run" plays like an hour and a half music video. The only rule
Tykwer followed while making this film is there are no rules. With this kind of freedom, the film really pulls out all the
stops. The fusing of so many different techniques, from regular film to digital video to animation, pays off in an explosive
way. One thing I was particularly impressed with was that whenever Lola would run past someone on the street (who in any
other movie would just be extras), we see a split-second flash forward detailing how the rest of their lives will play out.
It really gives one something to think about; how much do little things impact the rest of our lives? For example, if Lola
runs past an older lady with a stroller, that lady may win the lottery. If Lola bumps into her, she may be deported.
Going into this type of movie, one doesn't really expect much from the performances. More or less, the acting is what
it should be and nothing more. The actors fit into their roles well and don't really participate in any explosive melodrama,
which works much for the benefit of the film. However, Franka Potente is something else. She does more than act; she inhabits
Lola. She shapes Lola into an action movie icon, someone we can root and get excited for as she tries to get from place A
to B three times. Lola is more than an everyday heroine; she is a unique character who has depth and many quirky traits (including
that weird banshee scream).
Unfortunately, between each 20-minute segment, the film does slow down a little. Between
each segment we get parts of a scene of Lola and Manni together discussing how the other would get along if something happened
to one of them. These scenes are designed to add some intimacy and irony to the outcomes of each scenario, but in the middle
of so much energetic chaos, all they really does is slow the film down.
But that is just a trivial nitpick in the
midst of so many delights. "Run Lola Run" is nothing short of exhilarating. It's the kind of movie where a billion
random ideas can come and form one coherent piece. Finally, we get a movie that's a lot of fun and doesn't require you to
leave your brain at the door. "Run Lola Run" is the kind of experience that can only be found in the movies.