From the amazing opening sequence, before the credits, all the way to the end of the screening when I was standing on my feet shouting and applauding, Run, Lola, Run is a film I could not take my eyes off of. It’s too good a movie to be true. It has everything – a great story, two amazing and believable characters, an adventure, a mystery about time, love and insecurity, a ticking clock, a few guns, a philandering father, and even a cartoon or two. There is also an ending you cannot foresee and this is where Run, Lola, Run separates itself from the pack.
To be exact there are three endings. At the end of the first sequence Lola (Franka Potente) has run head-on into the dire consequences of trying to save her boyfriend Manni’s (Moritz Bleibtrau) life by trying desperately to raise 100,000 marks in twenty minutes, all while racing pell-mell through the streets of Berlin. You think the film is over, but it isn’t.
Slowly you realize the story is starting over again at the beginning. But because of the cartoon dog (trust me on this one), the second sequence is delayed by ten seconds, and therefore takes place ten seconds later than the first one. The consequences are shattering. In a perfectly natural and completely believable way, the extra ten seconds means that things happen in the second that didn’t in the first, and vice versa. The second sequence ends with the opposite conclusion of the first.
And then Lola begins again, jumps over the dog this time, and the third sequence begins, once again a few seconds different from either of the first two. And once more the conclusion is unimaginably different. Which ending is real? It makes no difference. We are willing to believe any of the three, because they all work.
The device of playing with time will remind some of Pulp Fiction (and so will Lola and Manni), and also of Jim Jarmusch’s brilliant Night on Earth. Tom Tykwer’s direction seems flawless, at a faster pace than you’ve seen before in a film. In the few moments when Lola actually stops running, and the music stops, you feel as if all time has shut down as well. The silence is jarring. Then everything picks right up again. The time play is absolutely brilliant.
Photography (Frank Griebe) is excellent. His "gimmick" is that every time Lola and Manni are filmed it is on 35mm, and every scene in which they are not involved is shot on videotape. Therefore Lola and Manni’s scenes jump out at us, a very effective device. And the soundtrack, an integral part of Lola’s full speed flight through the city, should be on everybody’s dance list. Director Twyker also composed the music, with Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek.
But above all it’s the story. When you can sum up a story in one sentence you know you have a great one: "Lola has twenty minutes to come up with 100,000 marks and run through the city to rescue her true love." And she does it, and then she does it again, and then she does it again. Lola is amazing.