"On your marks. Get set. Go in any direction you like!"
If you don't like the ending in 'Run Lola Run' then pick any one you like from one of the other available endings.Remember those choose your own adventures books? They were the ones with a myriad of alternatives and endings in each book. You got to decide what should be done and what would happen next.
If you got into them enough you would become a little disappointed when reading a normal book because you were not able to find out what would happen if the heroes had turned right instead of left. It was all rather disappointingly linear.
The same thing generally happens in movies as well. There are a couple of exceptions - 'Groundhog Day' comes to mind, but mostly we just have to accept the one direction the writer takes us.
Not so with 'Run Lola Run'.
'Lola' give us three endings, plenty of alternative decision making, chance happenings, close misses, crucial hits, flash backs, flash forwards, and lets us know what happens to characters that are only fleetingly seen in the main story line.
If it's not all happening then at least all that is happening gets a look in.
Manni (Bleibtreu) is a small time criminal in some disturbingly big time trouble when he loses a wad of cash that he was meant to deliver. He decides to call his girl-friend - the very red headed Lola (Pontente) - that he needs to somehow come up with the money in time for the pick up. The delivery time is in just twenty minutes. Whatever Lola is going to do, she needs to do it rather quickly. She starts running.
Can twenty minutes until the climax of the story fill up a whole feature length movie?
Well no, so instead we get three versions of the one story line shown in a galvanising mix of animation, video and a variety of film stock to express the effects of fate, crucial decision making and luck.
Writer/director Tykwer gives us a film made in an interesting and eclectic way about random chance. The film is full of energy with its unrelenting rhythmical soundtrack and has you fascinated right from the spectacular zoom-in right at the beginning.
The film has a number of features that are not all that common in film. As mentioned, there are the three takes at the story and the use of various film stock. The most original feature is the attention given to the fleeting minor characters. Entire lives are shown in a matter of seconds. The births, deaths, marriages and kinky sex of these characters are all shown to let us know where these minor characters came from and where they are going.
Pontente and Bleibtreu don't really have to try all that hard in their roles. Perhaps as sacrifice to the what-ifs answering, we don't find out that much about Lola and Manni and so the actors are not all that stretched. How and why did Manni get mixed up with these criminals and why does Lola so quickly help? That is not really answered.
Tykwer begins an idea of a film by a single image. He first gets that image moving and then bases the film around that idea. The image that he had for this film was a woman running.It is Lola running, and the effect of chance that will be best remembered from this enticing film. Lots of the what-ifs are given so you can choose you own story to leave you with a satisfying and enjoyable time at the cinema.