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Movie Reviews

Run Lola Run




Released: 22nd October 1999 (UK)

Directed by: Tom Tykwer

Starring: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: William McAbee

Just when you start to think that the recent rapid increase in speed of Hollywood’s editing is a bad move for film making, a film comes along to show you how that editing can be done right. With 1,581 edits and an average shot length of 2.7 seconds, Run Lola Run is an absolute fun thrill ride that sucks you in immediately into a roller coaster of a film. Multiple timelines, loads of interesting characters, a suspense filled plot, and ultimate superior filmmaking at its finest make Run Lola Run an unforgettable cinematic experience that few movies can offer. Its a kick to the balls that cinema needs while also giving a nod to the classics of the past.

The film follows Lola, a red headed high pitch screaming girl, who receives a phone call one day from her boyfriend, Manni, who has failed to complete a 100,000 marks gangster deal and will be killed if he cannot collect the money by noon. Giving Lola 20 minutes, she must figure out how to collect the money and save Manni before things turn from bad to worse.

As said, what makes this film stand out from the rest is the incredible editing that controls the film. As a big editing fan, it is fun to see an editor go all out and really let it dominate a film. Most films try to make the editing seamless and eventually cause the audience to forget that editing is even occurring. Yet this movie embraces the editing and shows off the ability that it can have on a film, tied together with a stellar soundtrack that splices perfectly with the film and you have a masterpiece on your hands. I have seen this film multiple times and I am still loving each edit, catching something new each time, while also never getting tired of watching Lola run.

Combine this style with an excellent story and you have an instant classic. Like all great films, this movie shoots you straight into the action setting up the rules and gets right into the fun. While I am usually a fan of patient films that divulge into the background, this movie was a nice change of pace and I was glad that it skipped over the BS. The opening scene sets up the world, a cop saying that “The game is 90 minutes. The ball is round. The rest is pure theory”. Tykwer uses this classic soccer quote to reflect the rules of cinema daring the audience into believe that anything can happen in that timeline. As the film continues we see that Tykwer sure does push those rules. The films divides into three sections, three separate timelines that follow Lola as she tries to find 100,000 marks for Manni. Each one feels like a new life and follow a “butterfly effect” idea that explores how the simplest actions will change people’s entire lives. This is played out excellently by using small side characters and giving flashes of pictures that how us how their lives change according to each time line.

What also stands evident throughout the film is the great camera work by Tykwer and Frank Griebe with lots of crane work and movements that few movies dare to do. While most action movies use quick, fast edits to make the action seem exciting, Tykwer keeps the camera rolling and allows us to follow Lola and never breaks the action. It is also fun to see a lover of Hitchcock’s Vertigo throw in references in the casino scenes. He also sets up nice thematic elements like time, the number 20, the color red, deception, and fear of police (another Hitchcockian element in the film).

Overall what makes Run Lola Run unforgettable is that it is a film that embraces its style, creates a original story, challenges itself by using daring and different camera work, and overall having fun. It stands out as one of my all time favorite films and is an instant classic. Flawless, funny, and smart, Run Lola Run is not a film to be missed and I doubt that anyone will be disappointed by it.

Hello! I am William McAbee. I do my fair share of reviews from time to time and I tweet like there is no tomorrow! I work currently as a video editor and producer.

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