Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Run Lola Run

Originally Written and Posted at on 6/20/08 w/ Additional Edits.

Written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run) tells the story of a woman who needs to retrieve 100,000 Deutsche Mark in 20 minutes to save the life of her boyfriend. Told in three different versions in a running time of 76-minutes, the film explores the different versions of how a woman could retrieve all of that money to save her life and the possibilities of how she could succeed or fail. Starring Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, and Joachim Krol. Lola Rennt is an exciting, energetic, and entertaining film from Tom Tykwer.

When an exchange suddenly goes wrong, a dealer named Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) calls his girlfriend Lola (Franka Potente) about what's happening to him. His boss Ronnie plans to kill him if he doesn't give him 100,000 Deutsche Mark as Lola, who doesn't have her moped has to save him in 20 minutes at 12 PM. If she doesn't arrive in time with the money, Manni plans to rob a supermarket nearby. Lola makes her first run as she goes to her father (Hebert Knaup) where she encounters a woman with a baby, a biker, a homeless man (Joachim Krol), and others. When she arrives into her father's bank, she learns that he is leaving her and her mother for another woman as she is refused the money. She continues her run to save Manni as she reluctantly helps him leading to bad consequences.

In the second version of her run, Lola runs down the stairs of her apartment building but is tripped by a young man with a dog as it slows her down a bit while she goes to the bank. Immediately, she learns of her father's affair, has an emotional confrontation and gets the 100,000 Deutsche Marks but the end result becomes different. For the third and final version of her run, Lola runs into her father's co-worker Meyer (Ludger Pistor) whom she helped avoid an accident while seeing her father leave with Meyer much later on. While she ends up running to a casino to make a huge gamble, Manni finds the homeless man with a bike as the two try to pay off Manni's debt one way or another as time begins to run out.

The film is about chances and how things play. Yet, in between each run are two scenes of Lola and Manni professing their love and mortality shot through a red filter. While the film's plot is simple, Tom Tykwer brings different perspectives to the possibilities of what Lola could be doing and how to approach it. The stories and set-ups Tykwer presents are in tune to the film's kinetic energy and style with three different endings. Though the idea of which ending to be preferred is kind of a disservice to some audiences who prefer to stick to one idea. Tykwer at least gives the idea of different realities through the three stories. The first is more suspenseful in the form of a thriller and the second is more dramatic. The third is a mix of both but seems to be more real than the previous stories. Its ending in comparison to the other two is a bit weak despite its resolution.

Tykwer's direction is top-notch as he delves into various styles of filmmaking whether it's 2-D, hand-drawn animation for the film's opening credits and running down the stairs sequences; grainy hand-held work for a few of the film's dramatic scenes; or stylized action sequences that involve tracking shots to capture the film's energy. For each run, there's always something present that Lola runs into whether's it's a lady, the homeless man, a guy with a stolen bike, or a bank teller. For three of those characters, Tykwer reveals what will happen to them and such in the three different runs. One of the themes Tykwer delves into is fate, what is expected from these characters and such as it's clear that one of Tykwer's profound influences is the late Krzysztof Kieslowski who delves into the theme of fate. Though the film isn't perfect, Tykwer still creates a solid film that is energetic and profoundly entertaining.

Cinematographer Frank Griebe does a fantastic job with the film's diverse camera work from the colorful, tracking shots all shot on location in Berlin to the grainy cinematography in a few of the film's dramatic scenes. Griebe's camera work is wonderful in its emphasis on style, particularly on the in-between scenes for the runs with its red filter. Editor Mathilde Bonnefoy does a spectacular job with the film's energetic pacing with jump-cuts, split-side shots, and transitions to create a stylistic yet rhythmic tone for the film. Bonnefoy's editing is one of the film's most memorable technical highlights.

Production designer Alexander Manasse and art director Attila Saygel do a great job in the look of the film's bank and casino sequences to add to its unique style while costume designer Monika Jacobs does a great job with the look of Lola, particularly her loose gray wife-beater shirt, her light-green pants, and the hypnotic red hair designed by Christa Krista. Sound designer Dirk Jacob with editors Markus Munz and Kai Storck do an excellent job with sound work of car noises, photo snaps, gunshots, and such to help create an atmosphere for the film and the scenes that goes on. Animation designer Gil Alkabetz does a wonderful job with the film's 2-D hand-drawn animation style to help give the film its unique look.

The music by Tom Tykwer plus Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek is wonderfully hypnotic in its German-techno music with thumping beats, lots of energy, and noises to capture each run that goes on. With additional contributions from Franka Potente who contributes a few vocals on the track while the soundtrack includes a song from Dinah Washington. Though some might not be a fan of techno or electronic music, it works for the film's sense of rhythm and energy.

The casting by An Dorthe Braker is superbly assembled with performances from Heino Ferch as Ronnie, Ute Lubosch as the mother Lola bumps into during her run, Monica Bleibtreu as the blind woman whose card Manni borrows, Klaus Muller as the bank croupier, Sebastian Schipper as the guy with the stolen bike, and Armin Rohde as the bank security guard. Other small but memorable performance include Ludger Pistor as Meyer, Nina Petri as Lola's father's mistress, Joachim Krol as the homeless man who took Manni's bag of money, and Herbert Knaup as Lola's uncaring father. Moritz Bleibtreu is excellent as Manni, the drug dealer who gets himself into big trouble as he seeks help from Lola while becoming desperate for some other way to pay his boss.

Finally, there's Franka Potente in her breakthrough performance as Lola. Potente's energetic, powerful, and hypnotic performance is definitely one of the most memorable performances of the 1990s. Not just for her look but her determination as she tries to save her boyfriend’s life while dealing with her father's extramarital affairs and the angst that she has as her scream is very deafening. It's a powerful performance from the German actress who became a star after this film.

Lola Rennt is an excellent and energetic film from Tom Tykwer. Though it's not perfect, it's pulsating music, sharp camera work, superb editing, set-ups, and Franka Potente's performance still makes it one of the most memorable films of the 1990s. Those new to Tykwer will no doubt find this as a great place to start as is a great introduction to the new era of German cinema. Anyone else who has heard about this film but haven't seen this should pick this up, even in its short 76-minute running time. In the end, for a film with a lot of energy and style, Lola Rennt is the film to see.

© thevoid99 2014


Dell said...

This is an amazing movie. Its raw, kinetic energy is hard to match. I had a grand time watching this. It has been a while since I've watched it. Might be time for a rewatch. Great review.

thevoid99 said...

Thank you. It's been a long time since I've seen it too. Need to rewatch it.

Brittani Burnham said...

I remember watching this in my German class in high school and hating it, but it's something I really want to revisit, because I think I could appreciate more now. Great review!

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-They showed this at German class? AWESOME!!!!