What if the next twenty minutes will decide the rest of your life? What would you do? And how would it change the lives of those you bump into while frantically trying to accomplish the impossible? Then – how would it play out of you could reset the situation? Whether you call it ‘extra lives’ or an ‘Undo’ button, it’s that one power we’ve all wished for. Lucky for Lola she gets more than one chance to change her life. But that doesn’t mean she has any control over it.
The Germans don’t often come across as a quirky lot. BMWs and steins of beer usually colour everyone’s perspective of their culture, as well as punctual trains and a penchant for brutal efficiency. We often tend to forget they also invented techno music, conceptual war monuments and mad scientists. And movies like Run Lola Run, a strange mix between Groundhog Day and The Butterfly Effect. Lola’s 20 minutes start with a phone call. Her boyfriend had lost a bag containing a lot of money and in less than half an hour an unforgiving gangster boss takes ownership of said bag or our guy is toast. His fallback plan is to rob a convenience store, so Lola does what she can to get the cash to him before time runs out.
Yet we don’t experience Lola’s sprint for the cash just once, but three times. And every instance something small is done differently that cascades the events of the day in a slightly different pattern. This impacts not only Lola’s destiny, but those she casually run into. Certain characters’ futures are revealed through sequences of quick-fire Polaroid photos and it is interesting to see how their lives change based on seemingly inconsequential encounters. But Lola and her three realities take center stage. It is all luck and fate – though there are instances where you can see Lola use knowledge from a previous scenario, none of the characters remember what happened to them before. They are just repeatedly throwing the dice.
Great cinematography and a great pounding soundtrack moves Run Lola Run along at a sprint. It’s incredibly slick, yet still manages to give you a lot to think and talk about. A fast, fun movie that also makes you think? The Germans aren’t known for their quirky style, but when they do it, they go all out. Lola style.
Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.
Last Updated: September 30, 2013