Run Lola Run (1998) (R)

If anything can be said about Tom Tykwer's "Run Lola Run", it would be that it has a great sense of time. The film is short, not even 90 minutes; and yet the story takes place in 20 minutes. You are never cheated, nor do you feel that the movie is purposely longer than it should be. In the Goldilocks fashion, it's just right.
The film starts by placing the viewer in the middle of a circumstance that will gradually make sense as the movie plays out. Relationships are given no background, you have no knowledge of any of the characters—therefore, you have to make first impressions of everyone...this is the film's strength.
Lola (Franka Potente) gets a call from her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), letting her know that he has to have 100,000 marks in 20 minutes or he's a dead man—go!
We assume several things right from the beginning, Lola's love has to be quite strong for Manni (though that is never explicitly painted on the film, something that I like...mind you, there are scenes in which Lola and Manni discuss their love life) and she has to be willing to run her legs into the ground for him...which she does.
There is a Tarantino air about "Run Lola Run"; not as violent and more cartoonish, but still present.
So Lola takes off running, her only mode of transportation, to the only person who she thinks will help her: her father. Little does she know that Daddy has a deep secret that will prevent him from helping her so she will have to think otherwise.
We meet several people on Lola's runs and they keep coming back in bizarre ways: a boy on a bicycle, a lady who works with Lola's father, a woman pushing a baby, a man driving a car, etc. etc. Each of their lives is somehow impacted by how they meet Lola.
So the question becomes, how does one raise 100,000 marks in 20 minutes? and the answer isn't greatly plausible...but fun? yes indeed.
The film is a predecessor of "Vantage Point" and "Premium Rush", though it's twice those movies combined...not that that's a great accomplishment.
The tracking shots of Lola running are filled with speed and accuracy, in fact, the entire film's cinematography is noteworthy.
 The score to the movie is fill with percussive beats and repeating poetic phrases that give us some insight on what is flying through Lola's head while she races to Manni.
Tykwer's eye is relentless and "Run Lola Run" truly never has one dull moment contained within it.
The whole movie is not one action scene after the other, we do have love scenes that make perfect sense where they are.
The question of love never pops up in the film, rightly so. Though the viewer is often left asking, what would I do for love? Lola never asks this question.
To give a sense of how important this film was to several people's careers just look at Franka Potente, who would go on from here to star in "The Bourne Identity" opposite Matt Damon. Then there's the director himself who later made the beautiful and frustrating "Cloud Atlas" with the Wachowski siblings.
The actors and makers of this movie are not stars, they are still the dark horses of Hollywood—not soaking up all the lime light. But it's from these characters that great and original movies spring forth from and "Run Lola Run" is a pristine example of this.
It may not be the greatest movie ever made, but it does carry it's head high. Some scenes are not perfect and others don't completely make sense; yet I found myself not caring.
"Run Lola Run" is hugely entertaining, finely crafted, and well-acted.

Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

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