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Overall Rating
4.48

Awesome55.88%
Worth A Look: 36.76%
Average: 6.86%
Pretty Bad: 0.49%
Total Crap: 0%

13 reviews, 126 user ratings


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Run Lola Run
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by Rob Gonsalves

"A great ride."
5 stars

The young woman has twenty minutes to get 100,000 marks for her boyfriend, or else a local gangster will kill him. Her moped has been stolen, so she has to run all over the streets of Berlin, and the camera runs with her. 'Run Lola Run,' which broke records in its native Germany, is the revolutionary back-to-basics movie some of us have been waiting for. It's pure movement, pure adrenaline, pure cinema. As you watch, you know you're seeing a reminder of what movies can do better than any other medium.

The movie's antecedents are clearly Natural Born Killers and Trainspotting -- it has a similar whiplash style, fracturing linear narrative, batting us around the way a cat plays with a mouse -- yet it has a pulse all its own. It's ecstatically show-offy, deeply in love with its own editing-table whiz-bang, and that takes a little getting used to. The hip MTV style, it turns out, is a cover for most unhip ruminations on existence and the meaning of love. Run Lola Run is ironic only in form, not in content.

Lola (Franka Potente) is our heroine, a tight woman with fierce red hair that flies about as she runs, as if her brain were burning with purpose. Her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) is in serious trouble: He left a bag on a subway train, a bag containing the 100,000 marks he owes a fearsome gangster, and a subway bum has made off with the bag. Lola makes a beeline for her dad, a banker who is having an affair with a co-worker. The young writer-director, Tom Tykwer, shows us three possible versions of Lola's quest. Each time, slight variations in the journey -- does Lola bump into this old woman or avoid that car? -- affect everything else that follows. The subject of the movie appears to be nothing less than the randomness and fragility of life itself.

Yet in 81 rocketing minutes, Tykwer is able to give us three stories that feel distinct, that feel like mini-movies in and of themselves. You're never bored with seeing the movie start up again, because you want to see how it unfolds this time, what minuscule events will send it spinning off the tracks. I believe it was Roger Ebert who likened the form of the movie to a video game: The second and third versions hit the ground running, just like the restart in a game, and Lola gets another chance -- but only for our benefit, never for hers. Watching a movie or playing a video game holds no lasting consequences for us, but within the experience, we know that everything that happens has consequences. Lola has no extra awareness in each new variation of the story: she can't go into the second part and learn from the mistakes she made in the first. In any event, it doesn't matter, because her actions are so dependent on the smallest disturbances that either happen or don't happen.

If there's any justice, Franka Potente should emerge as a new international star. Her work in Run Lola Run doesn't just amount to running. Her features have the severity of Lili Taylor or Amanda Plummer, with a little vulnerable hint of Elisabeth Shue (from certain angles) to soften them. Potente is aptly named: she's potent, all right -- she has a hard-driving force as Lola that might be a little scary if we weren't rooting for Lola to burst through her obstacles. When she gets upset or excited and shrieks loud enough to shatter glass, we believe it. (I don't really know why this detail is there, other than to terrify everyone else onscreen; it's a cool, cathartic effect, though. It may also be a nod to the little boy in The Tin Drum, who did the same thing.) Lola has strength and speed; she's the perfect post-feminist icon, a riot grrrl with wings of desire. Unburdened by psychological muck, she identifies what she wants and just goes after it. Her mission has the mad purity of relentlessness, and so does Potente's near-wordless performance, which is just about the last word in character defined by action.

On some level, Run Lola Run is just masterful eye candy. That red hair, the blue tanktop and jeans, hurtling through the vertical maze of Berlin. You could conceivably not care at all about Lola's quest and still sit there trancing out on the color and movement. But Tykwer, for all his mixmaster tricks, isn't a detached hipster. His games bring us closer to the characters, whether it's a cartoon vision of Lola running down a long, long flight of stairs or a gallery of near-subliminal snapshots that brief us on the futures of some of the people Lola runs into. (The futures are different each time; the effect of a life summed up with brutal efficiency in five seconds is both funny and chilling.) Early on, Lola stands in her room with the camera circling her, and we get strobed with images of people we don't know; we get ready to rebel at the pretentiousness of this until we realize that Lola is flipping through her mental Rolodex, thinking of people who can give her the 100,000 marks. She decides on her dad, and we never see any of the other people again; she doesn't have time to go to anyone else.

Is Run Lola Run a great movie? I think it's a great ride, great moviemaking -- the art film as high-powered entertainment. Once again, someone outside the studio system has shown Hollywood how it should be done. You set up a conflict, you set your characters in motion, you leave out anything unnecessary, and you let the meanings emerge organically from the material instead of throwing the meanings onto the material like an ill-fitting coat. You engage the eye and the mind, and you resolve the conflict. How hard is that? Apparently very hard, since so few Hollywood movies manage to check off any of the goals on that list, but Tom Tykwer makes it all look easy and natural.

'Run Lola Run' has gotten some critical acclaim in America, but it hasn't really broken out to become the cult smash it deserves to be, and that's a shame: This should have been the youth hit of the summer, not the empty 'Blair Witch Project,' with its calculated stabs at sending the audience out buzzing. 'Run Lola Run' sends you out buzzed; you come out feeling cooler, sharper, refreshed. You feel ready to take another run.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2128&reviewer=416
originally posted: 12/31/06 04:28:32
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User Comments

3/12/14 PAUL SHORTT EXHILARATING, STYLISH THRILLER 3 stars
4/03/11 Glenn VERY good movie; outstanding "energy" and wonderful soundtrack; VERY COOL Movie. 4 stars
3/08/06 Ashley Amazing! So much fun. It will appeal to a very wide audience of filmgoers. 5 stars
11/21/05 ken mad 5 stars
10/18/04 Hadassah There was so much symbolism in this movie, I've watched it about 6 times. 5 stars
9/26/04 Tor Honolulu If I ruled cable, this is would have its own channel and play non stop 5 stars
9/15/04 Muscle Mike Great spirit! I needed a cool-down lap after viewing this film. 5 stars
6/22/04 Kate Going 100km/s, the "parallel universe" theme, music and "outcomes" of actions is brilliant! 5 stars
5/12/04 John gets repetitive after a while, feels like it should have been a short film 2 stars
12/14/03 Image15 Fate and Destiny in 81 minutes...Great flick 4 stars
11/14/03 Anderson You won't fall alseep in total 81 minutes 4 stars
11/12/03 heidi it is interesting when i watched the 2nd replay...but it is not when i watched the 3rd 3 stars
11/08/03 Cindy quite interesting with three different endings just like a game 4 stars
10/16/03 Jenny There are lots of meanings included, but I can't really understand by watched it once only. 5 stars
10/08/03 Ka Yiu its a interesting film 3 stars
10/07/03 suki wu interesting and refreshing 4 stars
10/07/03 Van that's an interesting film i haven't seen before 4 stars
10/07/03 xanthe somehow it is a pretty good film as the story can be repeated three times without boring 4 stars
10/06/03 B quite interesting 4 stars
10/05/03 Andrew German Techno beats match the rhythm of the film! 5 stars
10/04/03 John That's is a very special film coz you can say it has 3 ending! 5 stars
10/01/03 yui exciting 4 stars
9/30/03 Ophelia 3 ending film is so interesting 5 stars
9/30/03 estheticaura A lady that would do it all over again, just for her lover. 4 stars
9/29/03 KKS_flimic nothing's special, just repeat for three times...but somethings really unexpected 3 stars
9/28/03 Yan_space I most like the music and light of this film, but the story of this film was a bit bored. 3 stars
9/28/03 Mark Fortner This is my favourite movie 5 stars
9/27/03 Irene Quite interesting 4 stars
9/26/03 Monica It cannot be imagined that the ending was like this if you haven't seen it before. 4 stars
9/25/03 J. LEE Repetition of the story makes the film very attractive 4 stars
9/25/03 Francis Space i think thiss film the pattern is quite special, many thing is out my expectation 4 stars
9/25/03 Jimmy_space In my view, it's not very interesting. Lola seems like Jesus, the story is unbelieveable. 3 stars
9/24/03 karen interesting 4 stars
6/21/03 Andilecious Briliant concept and well executed 5 stars
5/06/03 Dave Loved it. Slick, stylish, funny and believable, and if you don't like subs then fuck off. 5 stars
4/18/03 Olivia best film I've seen in years 5 stars
2/18/03 thomas york lola is a fun movie, you care what happens to the characters and the soundtrack kicks ass 5 stars
2/09/03 Zefram Mann Completely style over substance, but what good style it is in places. 4 stars
12/25/02 Goofy Maxwell Tom Tykwer? Sounds like the name of a hobbit. btw, "Lola" runs rings round LOTR. 5 stars
11/23/02 Christopher Liked it. Interesting. 4 stars
10/15/02 Charles Tatum I love Franka 5 stars
10/06/02 HARVEY J POST LA PETITE COUCHON 5 stars
9/01/02 Robbie Banfitch there's so much to like in this movie 5 stars
8/19/02 .Choadushouse. Amazing! Unlike any film I've ever seen! Completely entertaining and Lola is SO HOT!!! 5 stars
8/11/02 akash sexy 5 stars
7/09/02 Movie Expert Just another example that 99 was one of the most innovative and best years at the movies 5 stars
6/23/02 Phil M. Aficionado Inventive/gripping, little twists provide robust different outcomes. Subtitled beats dubbed 4 stars
6/06/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi this film was fucking awesome, i could watch it for hours and hours, ova and ova agen 5 stars
4/27/02 Gremlin A different movie, nice change of style, action, and German background makes it great. 5 stars
3/23/02 R.W. Welch Inventive format, longer on technique than substance. 4 stars
2/20/02 Sebastian Brocks Good Film with 'special' story 5 stars
1/13/02 The Moorhen WOAH! 5 stars
1/05/02 Sparky Polastri One of the most watchable movies ever; I love this the most 5 stars
9/26/01 Gabrielle I liked it. It had pace, action and variation. It was never dull or boring. 4 stars
9/03/01 Butterbean Great movie! I love the parts where Lola runs into people and we get to see thier future. 5 stars
8/16/01 Marlene I have'nt watched this movie, but The devil told me it was good so I like it. 4 stars
7/20/01 Gus It blew me away after a disappointing start 5 stars
5/15/01 P.Rodriguez Sick Techno Soundtrack and some of the madests character credits makes the film a classic. 5 stars
5/15/01 zeitgeist u have to respect this kind of originality 5 stars
5/03/01 Bada Bing Crosby Everything I look for in a movie is right here in this masterpiece 5 stars
4/27/01 Silver Starfire It has an innovative storyline that keeps you on edge the entire time you watch. 5 stars
4/15/01 y2mckay Great premise and story, seamlessly meshed with an awesome techno soundtrack. BUY THIS DVD. 5 stars
3/11/01 Vinod Zachariah Really Amazing Idea 5 stars
2/28/01 Loki You must see it. 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Yum. 5 stars
2/13/01 stella Klassnoe kino 5 stars
2/09/01 John Adams Chutiya jevu movie cheeeeee............ 5 stars
1/10/01 Rob Banfitch If only america could make movies like this. 5 stars
1/09/01 Eden This movie is unlelieveable. it perfectly fuses sound and sight. 5 stars
1/03/01 svetlana so fast paced it only felt 20 mins long! 5 stars
12/28/00 Kat tres magnifique 5 stars
10/11/00 P. Rodriguez FanF@#$nTastic easily leaves for dead shit american thrillers. 5 stars
8/02/00 Delusia Great love story. 5 stars
7/14/00 Dr Strange I thought this was great, visually perfect, and I'm always a sucker for this type of story. 5 stars
7/13/00 Tom Very cool! 5 stars
7/07/00 Elvisfan Wow, she runs & screams & smokes like a champ! Great great movie 5 stars
6/26/00 stranded on the Island Best movie of 1999! Expect to be worn out by the time you finish watching... 5 stars
5/29/00 Weird Andy I could watch stuff like this for free on MTV's "AMP." Great opening sequence, though. 3 stars
5/03/00 Mortis Amazing editing, otherworldly storyline, Fuckin' awesome 5 stars
1/10/00 Will run you crazy bitch run 5 stars
1/06/00 Jason Imaginative, enthusiastic, thoughtful and energetic 5 stars
12/20/99 Pix Cliche story line - Fantastic execution. 5 stars
12/12/99 Glenn A high-energy romp. And then a romp. And then another romp. 5 stars
11/29/99 Mic Not as good as I thought it would be, but nevertheless... 4 stars
11/16/99 gnomical inventive, enjoyable. loved the mixed media approach. 4 stars
11/08/99 Eden all I can say is WOW. Amazing! 5 stars
11/08/99 Ruth J BRILLIANT!!! 5 stars
11/05/99 Mike Not as good as what you may think... 4 stars
10/30/99 cate dare fantastic 5 stars
10/27/99 pipeman So fucking cool. I was mesmerized. AND I went out and bought the soundtrack immediately. 5 stars
10/26/99 Greg A fun film 4 stars
10/26/99 Pierce Lanson Creative, Fast, Exciting, Great music, Thought-provoking-Brilliant 5 stars
10/25/99 Gawain McLachlan Adrenaline pumping,kinetic, techno fuelled, hyperactivity. Run into your cinema now! 5 stars
10/23/99 Belinda Get the soundtrack 4 stars
10/17/99 Grahame Wells Loved it: striking, brilliant, funny 5 stars
10/12/99 Jon I like Lola, she is a nice girl. 5 stars
10/11/99 Weird Andy Great opening sequence. Some nice touches, but the film's structure saps its energy. 4 stars
10/01/99 majawat quirky, fun 4 stars
9/19/99 Costars Creative, Funky & FUN 4 stars
9/19/99 majawat das is fun movie 4 stars
9/18/99 Mairi Thomas What a blast! Fast, pacey, gripping and FUN 5 stars
9/17/99 Robert Smith I liked it. I liked it a lot. 5 stars
9/17/99 Richard Fortunato really really fun to watch- German enuf to seem "different", universal enuf to be great 5 stars
9/16/99 Heather Loved it!! Just going off to dye my hair red.... 5 stars
9/09/99 Dr. Fardook Restored my faith in humanity, art, and senseless beautiful flash 5 stars
9/09/99 Elijah The über-action movie! Action for the brain 5 stars
8/16/99 sean a hyper-active synthetic thrill ride that blows the mind away and leaves you begging 4 more 5 stars
8/16/99 Kenéz Krisztián kelotiodni 5 stars
8/13/99 ProfJim An MTV video feature length film done right, now with metaphysics and chaos theory added! 5 stars
8/12/99 raf AMAZING 5 stars
8/04/99 Cameron ... 4 stars
8/03/99 jason as slick as the shit that you dont even have to wipe. 5 stars
8/03/99 Milena Verzeanu Awesome music ! Definitely the best and freshest movie of the year ! 5 stars
7/29/99 ralph norton GREAT fast paced film, I loved it! Unfortuatly Hollywood will ruin it with a remake,I'msure 5 stars
7/26/99 Suzanne Riveting, energetic, amazing! 5 stars
7/25/99 Tom Moore rocked! 5 stars
7/25/99 jen please, PLEASE don't let hollywood fuck with this one... 5 stars
7/24/99 iyu There is no genius. This movie is a repetitive pretentious piece of German shit. Lame. 5 stars
7/13/99 jvt Inventive, running time flies by, but LOCK, STOCK is still year's best arthouse so far 4 stars
7/10/99 bridgette you can't help but get into it. high energy. great soundtrack. 5 stars
7/10/99 James Hong Brilliant, as good as or better then 2 smoking barrels 5 stars
7/09/99 Oliver Bandte energetic, high power, brack through movie 5 stars
7/07/99 Brian M very kinetic, techno love story 3 stars
6/21/99 Vanessa Meidinger fast, varied, great ideas, breathtaking 5 stars
6/18/99 Mr Showbiz Not much depth, but has kinetic, exhilirating energy in spades. 4 stars
6/14/99 Aoife White Adrenalin rush. Smart sassy Lola tries to beat the clock and save her boyfriend. Echt cool. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jun-1999 (R)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  21-Oct-1999 (MA)


Directed by
  Tom Tykwer

Written by
  Tom Tykwer

Cast
  Franka Potente
  Moritz Bleibtreu
  Herbert Knaup
  Nina Petri
  Armin Rohde
  Joachim Król



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