Run Lola Run (DVD)

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Run Lola Run (DVD)

Set against the gritty urban scenescape of Berlin and a pounding techno soundtrack, RUN LOLA RUN is a frenetic, inventive existential thriller that ex...

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Review of "Run Lola Run (DVD)"

published 04/08/2006 | l-m-n-o-p
Member since : 19/06/2005
Reviews : 132
Members who trust : 66
About me :
Pro It's a fast-paced, exciting, inventive masterpiece
Cons It's a bit strange; it's German (only jesting)
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A scene from the animated sections

A scene from the animated sections

I only came across Run Lola Run because my favourite episode of The Simpsons, Trilogy Of Errors, contained an homage to this film. You may have seen it; it's the one where they show one day from the perspective of each family member. Lisa is late for her school science fair, so she runs down the street to some techno background music. I subsequently learned that that scene is based on Lola Rennt (or Run Lola Run), a German film from 1998, starring Franka Potente.

The film tells the story of red-haired Lola, who has just 20 minutes in which to find 100,000 Deutschmarks. Her boyfriend, Manni (played by Moritz Bleibtreu) needs the money by 12 o'clock or he will be killed by a gangster after a transport mix-up caused him to leave a bag of money on the train. Lola doesn't know what to do; her impulse reaction is to drop the phone, run out of the house and through the streets of Berlin, where she must find the money before Manni takes it into his own hands and robs a supermarket. Along the way, Lola (literally) bumps into a whole range of characters, including a group of nuns, a speeding ambulance and a pane of glass (you can see where that one's heading), a homeless man, and her father, who is having an affair.

Tom Tykwer's film is highly unusual, and rather a landmark piece of film making. For a start, the structure of the film is quite inventive, as it tells the same twenty minutes of story, in near-real time, three times over! Well, I say the "same" twenty minutes; except that each time, Lola makes tiny little decisions differently, which effect the path the story takes. The film is an existential musing on fate, and how small changes can have big consequences. There is also a bizarre, dreamlike opening sequence which makes you think, and the main stories are interspersed with some scenes between Lola and Manni, discussing the nature of love and death. It's certainly an intellectual film.

However, despite its serious ideas, the film stands out mainly for visual, aesthetic and technical reasons. There are so many different techniques used here, including some animated sequences, split screens, slow motion and scenes composed of quickly displayed photos, that the film is sometimes in danger of losing its focus on plot and dialogue, and becoming just eye candy. Fortunately, it avoids this, and these techniques only add to the film. Sometimes it gets a bit pretentious, but it certainly does look fantastic.

The acting from Franka Potente is quite good, although to be honest, for roughly half her screen time she is just running through the streets. Moritz Bleibtreu is a lot more impressive as Manni, who really makes you sympathise with him, even when he's robbing a supermarket at gun point. The rest of the supporting cast doesn't have much time on screen, but Herbert Knaup, playing Lola's father, was also very good.

Another aspect of the film you will remember from this film is the fantastic, pulsating techno soundtrack. The film has great pace anyway due to the nature of the race-against-time storyline, but the music really does lift the running sequences, and makes them iconic. Franka Potente herself sings on some of the tracks! Practically the whole running time has techno music in the background (apart from some well-placed moments of silence), and some may find the music a bit too intrusive and in-your-face. However, I really loved it, and I think it was the heartbeat of the film.

Despite the weighty themes touched upon, the film as a whole is pretty light-hearted and at times seems like some kind of parody, although I don't know what of. It's just so strange to see a film where the main scenes are just a woman running. There are some good moments of comedy in the film, especially at the end with the hilarious final few lines of dialogue. Also, the characters Lola bumps into are given their own short stories about what happens to them next (a different story for each of the three runs), and some of these are quite funny.

I would definitely recommend Run Lola Run to anyone, whether they're a fan of foreign films or not. It definitely does feel like a European film because of its quirkiness, and the fact that they speak German kind of gives it away too. The subtitles are really not a problem, since much of the film has no dialogue anyway, and when there is it is translated quite well (at least I think it is, from my pretty basic German skills), and they doesn't intrude on the screen.

It's one of the strangest films I've ever seen, but don't let that put you off; it's not strange as in off-putting or hard to get into - just strange as in inventive and imaginative. The plot's easy to follow, and it only lasts for about 80 minutes, which is extremely short as films go. Some might say they wanted it to go on for longer, but I think this length is perfect, due to the fast pace of the film. If they'd repeated the twenty minutes for another time, it would have been boring, and if it had been thirty minutes segments instead of twenty, the pace would have suffered. As it is, the 80 minutes just fly by as you sit there enthralled by this brilliant film.

Run Lola Run is available to buy on DVD for £5.95 from I'm not reviewing the extras; just the film.

Written and Directed by: Tom Tykwer


Franka Potente … Lola
Moritz Bleibtreu … Manni
Herbert Knaup … Lola's father
Nina Petri … Jutta Hansen
Ludger Pistor … Herr Meier
Suzanne Von Borsody … Frau Jager

Running Time: 80 minutes

Production Year: 1998

Classification: 15 (some language and violence)

My Rating: 5 stars

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Comments on this review

  • rabbiter published 10/10/2006
    I saw one of the scenes from this today - I think it was the first one with the phone. Watched it in Media - was facinating all the editing they used. Another great review on your behalf!!
  • bisonhead published 12/08/2006
    That was a great review of a brilliant film, the music alone makes it fantastic
  • charlsayslol published 12/08/2006
    hey great review as always, i'll try to see it sometime
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Product Information : Run Lola Run (DVD)

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Set against the gritty urban scenescape of Berlin and a pounding techno soundtrack, RUN LOLA RUN is a frenetic, inventive existential thriller that explores the life-altering impact of seemingly inconsequential actions. Beautiful, hip, and young, poor Lola has but 20 minutes to locate a missing bag containing 100,000 Deutsche marks or come up with the money some other way--if she can't, gangsters are going to kill her boyfriend. A pulse-raising race against time, the film employs a startling array of innovative techniques to present three separate scenarios, all departing from a single split-second decision Lola makes. Franka Patente, who also sings on the soundtrack, is mesmerizing as Lola.


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