Run Lola Run: a Review of Tom Tykwer's Movie

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At first, there was darkness. Then a low thumping bass. The slow ticking of a clock as the pendulum swings menacingly back and forth. The opening credits sweep before us. Then with a loud burst of synthesized techno sound, writer/director Tom Tykwer's energetic and chaotically creative film Run Lola Run started. And, less than a minute into 1999's most frantic, frenetic and uniquely paced trip, there is no turning back. Run Lola Run has gotten her claws into you and isn't going to let go until the very last credit has rolled.

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Set in Berlin, Run Lola Run opens with Lola (Franka Potentke) and her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) in the midst of a heated phone conversation. Thanks to an incredibly stupid move on his part leaving a bag with 100,000 Deutsch Marks in it on the subway Manni has 20 minutes to come up with DM100, 000 before he is supposed to give the money to Ronnie (Heino Ferch), his boss in crime, a most unsympathetic and uncaring man with a passion for killing those persons who have stolen from him. With the burden of saving Manni's life on her shoulders, its up to Lola to figure out a way to get DM100,000 and make her way across town to give it to Manni.

Tywker then follows the three different attempts Lola makes to get the money to Manni. Each attempt is, in and of itself, a new story. All three tales begin at 11:40 AM, 20 minutes before noon, and all three attempts start out in much the same fashion--Lola throws the phone in the air and runs out of her apartment--but from that point on, things begin to change.

With its loud, permeating, in-your-face techno soundtrack pumping throughout the entirety of the movie, and Tywkers use of crane and steadicam shots to capture Lolas near constant running, even the most mundane of eventsjogging down a staircase and crossing a bridge suddenly seem much more alive and important than usual. The result of this is scene after breathless scene with you anxiously awaiting the next turn of events at the edge of your seat.

Added to the mix though are a surprising number of little, and completely unexpected extras that propel the film forward. As Lola runs out of her apartment and onto the street, she brushes passed a woman pushing a baby carriage. After muttering at Lola in an inconsiderate nature, the woman continues her walk, and, as she is about the turn the corner, a series of snapshots flash on the screen, allowing the audience to learn what will happen next in the woman's life. These photo montages, while only lasting for five seconds or so, punctuate Run Lola Run in such a fashion that, despite the fact we're just watching Lola run across town, we are also being told of numerous different stories along the way.

Bold and vibrantly colorful shot, Run Lola Run was the most adventurous, daring and experimental piece of new wave filmmaking in recent times. Tywker's command of the material at hand is superb and the pacing phenomenal.

This wasn't a film, so much as it was an experience.

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