Run Lola Run (1998)

run lola run poster 1998 movie german
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking, creative, and edgy

A few questionable choices

Movie Info

Movie Name: Run Lola Run

Studio:  X-Filme Creative Pool/Arte Deutschland TV/Westerdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Genre(s): Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  August 20, 1998 (Germany)/June 18, 1999 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

run lola run franka potente moritz bleibtreu

Time is ticking!

Lola (Franka Potente) is running out of time.  Her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) has called her with a story of a missing mobster’s money and a failed drop exchange.  If Lola doesn’t get 100,000 Deutschmarks in twenty minutes, Manni is dead…but time is funny and time is fluid.  One missed opportunity can change the course of a day while something that seems fortunate could damn Lola.  Lola has twenty minutes, and the clock isn’t stopping.

Written and directed by Tom Tykwer, Run Lola Run (Lola rennt aka Lola Runs) is a German action thriller with elements of sci-fi fantasy.  The film was released to positive reviews and has gained a cult following over the years.

run lola run animation vertigo spiral stairs

I’m impressed even animated Lola can handle those stairs

Run Lola Run was one of those movies I heard about long before it was released.  There was talk of this crazy German film with a lady with red hair running the whole movie.  I recall renting and not getting it watched before the deadline…and realizing fast-forwarding through the kinetic movie was also a mistake.  Run Lola Run is the type of movie that only needs a pause button because it runs at breakneck speeds.

The story is made up of three run-throughs and largely focuses on the butterfly effect which has ties to chaos theory.  Lola’s daily actions, a second late or a second behind, affects the course of events that will occur.  Be it bumping into a woman with a stroller or accidentally causing a car crash, the effect of these actions can have catastrophic outcomes.  The third time through, multiple positive events occur and line up for Lola and Manni (which doesn’t always mean great things for those who encounter them).

run lola run franka potente casino scream

Lola goes all Black Canary

The story has a few so-so aspects which aren’t great.  The only calm points are the two times between the resets which feature Manni and Lola in bed discussing what they mean to each other.  It is necessary but saps away some of the energy.  There is also Lola’s “superpower” is a scream that can shatter glass.  The film is surreal, but it is the most surreal part of it…and kind of takes you out of the story.

Franka Potente is amazing in the movie and holds the film together with her energy.  I’m sure that when she was told she was going to have to run a lot of the film, she probably didn’t understand how much.  Fortunately, she’s a natural looking runner, and I’d love to see how much distance she logged in making the movie.  Moritz Bleibtreu and others in Lola’s life don’t get to expand as much since they are essentially fringe to the Lola plot.  Bleibtreu gets the most time (followed by Lola’s father)…but it really is all about Franka Potente.

run lola run franka potente

I don’t really have to run all the time…do I?

The visuals also make the movie.  It is held together by a techno soundtrack (performed by Franka Potente and the film director in part) and the movie jumps from animation to flashy editing.  There are a number of ties to Hitchcock’s Vertigo with not only an allusion to the painting in the film (at the casino), but the spirals and time in general.  Lola is lost in a time warp and time is overlapping (there are also some nice ties to Trainspotting which had a similar international explosion).

Run Lola Run is a great demonstration of how time is fluid and every second counts.  It is the “anti-fate” movie where chance and happenstance are what alter the course of history, and one casual run-in can change everything.  It is the same feeling if you are ever in an accident…what if you had left a second earlier or later…would it have occurred?  The butterfly effect is strong in Run Lola Run and sit back and enjoy the flapping.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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