Run Lola Run


Rating 3½

Written and directed by Tom Tykwer

Franka Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu

Watching this film is rather like lying down in a dark room, putting on a pair of headphones, listening to the Yello album ‘Solid Pleasure’ at very loud volume, and allowing the music to generate the visual images in your mind. I have never actually done this, but it’s what I imagine would happen.

My reaction to this film could be as negative as it is positive. Were I to imagine a film made by a film student with an encyclopaedic knowledge of film and overweening pretensions to artistic independence and integrity which attempted to include references to every single film in history with “artistic” credibility, plus the “cutting-edge” feel of the now, this would be it.

I could easily have watched the film and hated it, dismissing it as pretentious film school twaddle – all style other substance. In fact, for the first five minutes or so I thought that was exactly what it was building up towards. So, what exactly happened to change my mind?

I read about ‘Run Lola Run’ (or ‘Lola rennt’ to give the film its proper title – direct translation, ‘Lola Runs’) some considerable time back and bought a copy on a whim. For various irrelevant reasons, I never got around to watching it after that – until now.

Very late into the night, with no particular plan in mind, I decided it was about time I watched the film. Any expectations I might have had were largely diffused by now. The one thing that probably influenced my decision to keep on watching after the first few minutes was Franka Potente, who I liked a lot in ‘Creep’ and ‘The Bourne Identity’.

‘Run Lola Run’ was written and directed by Tom Tykwer, who later went on to direct ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ and is now set to direct ‘The International’, with Naomi Watts and Clive Owen heading up the cast. Tykwer wrote ‘Run Lola Run’ specifically for Potente. They also wrote and recorded much of the music together for the film.

I can’t really write too much about the film without giving away the story entirely, which would spoil it. In terms of the basic storyline, the clue is in the title. Potente’s character, Lola, spends most of the film’s short playing time (77 minutes) running. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend checking out this film. You might love it or you might hate it, but I’m sure it will make an impact of some sort.

‘Run Lola Run’ has a 92% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed just over $7 million in the US and just under £165,000 in the UK. I don’t have a gross for Germany, although the cinema admissions in that country were just fewer than 2.3 million, which is around 700,000 more than in the US. The production budget was DEM 3.5 million, which now would be around $2.5 million. The film was made in 1998.

The opening sequence of the ‘Buffy’ episode ‘Beneath You’ is very obviously intended to reference the film. There is also, apparently, an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ that pays homage to it, with Lisa in the role of Lola.


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