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Run Lola Run
Format: DVD|Change
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on March 15, 2016
How can one adequately describe a movie that transcends the humdrum of generic theater experience? This 1998 power movie is one to be watched repeatedly and thoroughly enjoyed and embraced over and over. Indeed, the viewer feels completely engaged with the experience. This incredible arthouse movie incorporates sci-fi with so many other elements too numerous to mention but include path choices, linear, time and space, all against a backdrop of Berlin and a EuroTechno soundtrack to die for. Lola is powerful - her running almost rhythmical to the beat of the theme and the viewer is quite disappointed when the experience is over. Breathtaking.
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I've probably watched "Run Lola Run" a dozen times. The photography, directing, acting and plot are attention-grabbing. The music (I have the soundtrack CD) is perfect, and the film is fast paced. It's a great watch on the treadmill and the score is a good jogging or skiing iPod addition.

Franka Potente went on to the Borne movies (as well as many others), and while many people find her annoying, she's a good fit for Lola. Lola has three "runs" - basically three do-overs for the same events, and we see how each progresses and what she learns from them.

It's a German movie, so there are a lot of cultural nods and references that foreigners would miss. The voice-over is by Hans Paetsch, a famous children's narrator. Famous German actors of yesteryear have cameos, and there are quotes and references attributed to other famous Germans (these were pointed out to me by a friend.)

Because this is a foreign film, the photography style, editing, actors, etc. are different from what we're used to, and the ending is typically European. This only adds to the movie's attraction. If you like fast paced or off the wall movies, you'll thoroughly enjoy Lola.
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on February 21, 2015
Right after any Sandra Bullock film, this is my all time favorite film! Many people don't get what I believe this film is trying to show: that if our life is changed by just a fraction of a second it can have a totally different outcome. There are three segments. At the beginning of each segment Lola's has an encounter with a dog. Each encounter puts her at normal time, behind time or ahead of time. And, as I said, each encounter has a different outcome. I also love the techno music. I recommend watching it in the original German language with English subtitles.
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on May 11, 2000
Some have remarked on the originality of the film's concept. In fact, this is one of the science fiction genre's more cliched premises. What makes it novel, perhaps, is that it's applied to a non-science fiction setting. But, as interesting as the concept is, it does other films and television shows an injustice to regard _Run Lola Run_ as an entire innovation.
What separates _Run Lola Run_ from other films is not the story itself so much as the way the story is told. Director Tom Tykwer is an auteur run amuck. From the opening sequence, we are completely at the mercy of Twyker's powerful vision.
_Run Lola Run_ is the collision of German expressionism, Czech animation, and MTV. So much of this film is told though this blend of visual styles, in fact, that one could turn off the subtitles and understand most of what was going on.
This is not to say that the film is a vacuous visual metaphor. Far from it. Tykwer has crafted a genuine story here, with a great moral center. It's just that that morality is not exposed through pages of dialogue. Tykwer, instead, uses so many techniques, so well-edited together, that the characters are largely defined visually before you even know what's happening.
Clearly, this is a must-have film for anyone seriously interested in the craft of filmmaking. Not only will you learn a lot from the cacophony on display in the film itself, but the commentary (only in English) is especially enlightening. This is one of the very few secondary audio commentaries on DVD in which the lead actress plays a part, and her insight is invaluable. It's extremely intriguing to hear scenes relived from both sides of the camera. More interestingly, though, Tykwer's explanation of how he pulled off his vision is something that will energize even the most casual filmmaker.
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VINE VOICEon August 13, 2004
I've watched "Run Lola Run" three times now --once at an arthouse theatre when it first opened, again after purchasing the DVD about a year ago, and again this past week.

The first time I watched the DVD, I hadn't realized that there were two different versions --dubbed and subtitled-- on the disk. My wife and I watched the dubbed version and we were both VERY disappointed. Even if you don't understand a lick of German (and we don't), the subtitled one allows you to better gauge the emotions of the original performance. Actors dubbing in the dialogue after-the-fact, rarely, if ever, can match the impact of the original.

Last week, I watched it again with a friend --but only after having turned the disk over to the subtitled side.

Lola has received a frantic phone call from her boyfriend, Manni. He had left a sack containing 100,000 German Marks on a train... money that he was going to be turning over to his mobster boss in 20 minutes. If he doesn't have the money when he meets his boss, he's dead.

Lola dashes out of her apartment with no general idea of how she's going to come up with 100,000 Marks, and interacts with a number of people along the way.

As for the lesson in (anti) theology... (from my perspective, anyway)

The anti-theological point of RLR is that the most minute change in any event has a cascading effect where the resulting outcome may bear no resemblance to the events that would occur had the minor changes not taken place. In other words, this film is going to disturb the "events are pre-ordained by God" crowd.

Early in each of her three runs, Lola encounters a nasty old woman, but with the *slightest* variation between the encounters. The first time, they clip shoulders as she runs past... the woman sneers and calls Lola a name, and then the film offers about a dozen "snapshots" of the events that follow in the woman's life. (Something involving the government taking her children... or perhaps she had kidnapped them in the first place. I can't say for certain.)

The second encounter with the woman results in a much bigger bump... almost knocking the woman over. The woman turns and calls Lola a VERY bad name, but this time the forward-flash snapshots show the woman winning the lottery.

In their final encounter, Lola has left the apartment without tripping, and therefore breezes past the old woman because she gets to the same spot about a second earlier. The woman STILL sneers at her, (but does not call her a name!), and this time we witness the next events in her life: Pretty much a mundane snapshot, sitting watching TV with her husband.

There were a handful of encounters with different people, and evey minor change created enough changes in the fabric of events that the final outcome was very different.

Theists are sure to point out though, that there WAS one scene that would seem to argue on the side of events being pre-ordained: In each of the three segments, a man has a car accident, even though each accident takes place in a different way and at a diffent time. The man of course was DESTINED to have a wreck!

Personally, I think they included these scenes to make you think about it... but my personal opinion is that if there were a FOURTH run, (or a fifth or a sixth!), he eventually WOULDN'T have the wreck.

Besides, the dramatic differences in outcome for Lola and Manni ought to outweigh any suggestion of pre-destiny for what is a minor scene in the film.
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VINE VOICEon August 12, 2005
I see hundreds of movies a year, but somehow, I had managed to miss RUN LOLA RUN until the first week in August, 2005. YEARS after the film had come out, and years after imitators had their shots at ruining the style (like imitators of PULP FICTION kinda cheapened that whole genre). Not to fear...this film is a kick of PURE ENERGY!!

I felt honest-to-God jazzed watching this movie. Originality and ENERGY pop off the screen. Basically, we're watching three little movies...each of the same scenario, but playing out in different ways. We see how one or two tiny little changes early on can snowball into HUGE changes once the story reaches its end. Lola has to come up with a HUGE pile of money in 20 minutes flat, or her boyfriend will either be killed by a mobster, or take the foolish step of holding up a grocery store for the cash. Can she "fix" his problem in time? That's about the plot...but this summary tells you NOTHING about how this film feels.

I'm a 41 year old man. Not the target audience. I don't listen to the kind of music played here (techno...for lack of a better word). I speak some German, but not enough that I didn't have to read the subtitles. I always look for holes in the plot of films. I'm always skeptical of "artiness for its own sake." And yet, while the film is "artful," I thought it was a perfect blending of a filmmaking style with a story-telling intent. Lola is under a deadline...and everything reminds us of that. The pulsing, repetitive score...the fast camera work...the color choices...everything.

But the best part of all is Franke Potente, the star of the film. US audiences know her from the "girlfriend" role in BOURNE IDENTITY...and she was the best cast part of the film...she seemed real, smart, sexy, foreign and fully-realized. In RUN LOLA RUN, she shows why an American director casting a big-budget American film would have gone with her...she's GREAT! The film spends many minutes focused just on Lola running. From the side, from head-on...we see her run, run, run. Red/pink hair sailing wildly behind. Her face is a masterpiece...at one moment she's got fear, intelligence, determination and exhaustion etched there. She's very young, and in over her head...but we immediately want her to succeed as much as SHE wants to succeed. It's a riveting performance in a film full of fun ideas.

If I sit back and think about it...I realize that what Lola is running for is to save a criminal boyfriend (who's also stupid and a bit of a whiner), and that performing criminal acts is not beyond her either. Most of the characters she encounters along her way (especially her father and his mistress), are quite unlikeable too. From a surface level, we should have NO business getting behind these schmucks. But Lola's ferocity is an undeniable magnet. And the film moves WAY too fast to do anything but leave you breathless.

It's rated "R," mostly for some strong language, and for some unsavory scenes with the father and mistress. I don't recommend it by any stretch for kids...but I suggested it to my 17 year old son, and he loved it. He's showing it to his friends. It's a COOL movie...simply put. It deserves all the accolades that have come its way.
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on August 22, 2017
Great movie! I wasn't expecting what it did but I liked it a lot. Just buy it.
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on October 21, 2017
This is a fun film. It's worth watching at least once. The flow of the scenes are kinda trippy. FWI, the movie is not visually trippy. The trippiness is more akin to ground hog day.
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on January 25, 2018
I have seen this movie many times before. This was a refresher rental for me.
Once you see it, you wilk love it, and never forget the story. Makes you want to dye your hair red and start running.
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A T.S. Eliot quote. A swinging pendulum and spinning hands on a monstrous clock. Countless faded figures moving quickly by.

And in the center of the crush, a man in a cop uniform says (in German), "The ball is round. The game lasts 90 minutes. That's a fact. Everything else is pure theory." He kicks it into the sky.

Well, Tom Tykwer certainly knows how to get our attention. And it's only a few minutes in the kinetic, high-octane, colourful world of "Run Lola Run" -- a wild action/romance that studies the ripple effect of our lives, and the changes we can make in the name of love.

Lola (Franka Potente) receives a call from her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), a drug courier. Because Lola's moped was stolen, Manni had to take the subway home -- and he accidentally left behind a bag of money. Now he has twenty minutes to somehow get 100,000 marks, or his boss Ronnie is going to kill him.

Lola races across Berlin to her father's bank -- only to find him with his mistress, and hear that he's leaving his other family. Desperate, she runs to where Manni is waiting, and helps him rob a convenience store. But as they flee, the police catch up to them -- and Lola is shot.

"But I don't want to. I don't want to leave," she mutters. And time rewinds to where she left her apartment -- and this time, Lola's determined to do things differently. As she runs from one end of Berlin to another, she sends ripples through the lives of those she passes -- and she'll keep running until she finds a hundred thousand marks to save herself and Manni.

"Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)" was what propelled Tom Tykwer to international fame. And given that his other movies tend to be slower and more dreamlike -- though no less striking visually -- this movie is striking not only for its speed, but the sweet romance and the lesson about the old "butterfly's wings" adage. (Also see: "Happenstance")

Admittedly, a woman running through Berlin is not terribly interesting in itself. But the world of Lola is filled with brilliant rave colours -- Lola's blazing red hair, colourful room, the sights of Berlin -- and her race against the clock is punctuated by little vignettes of the future lives of various people she bumps into. That momentary contact is enough to change their lives -- sometimes for better, or worse.

And Tykwer's style is a spicy mix -- arty shots (going through a clock mouth or an apartment building?), German techno, cartoon interludes with an animated Lola running for it, Lola changing reality with her screeches, and the snapshots of people's futures, seen only for a second -- but very revealing. Not to mention the equally colourful, MTVesque cartoons of Lola running down stairs, evading dogs, et cetera.

But even aside from Tykwer's artistic flair, it's a great movie -- the atmosphere is painful and taut during the scenes in the bank, including Lola's robbery. And periodically, we see some sweet red-tinted interludes of Manni and Lola in bed, discussing their feelings for each other. They're little oases of calm and love, in the middle of all the running.

Franka Potente does a solid job as Lola, an ordinary punky girl who loves Manni more than anything, and must find the RIGHT way out of their shared dilemma. She gets some nasty surprises from her uptight, adulterous dad, though. And Bleibtreu does magnificently as Manni, who is overcome with fear, frustration and anguish because he knows that his boss is going to kill him.

"Run Lola Run" is a kinetic, vibrant, and a romantic little look at how a moment can change your life. Everything else is pure theory.
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