R is for Run Lola Run.
It has been many years since I saw Tom Twyker’s fast-paced, energetic, hugely enjoyable, post-modern meditation on fate, chance, coincidence and how we make narratives of our lives.
I had forgotten a lot about the film, including the rather brilliant electronic music (co-written by Twyker) and the fun piece of animation which is repeated several times in the movie.
Of course, a lot of things are repeated in the movie, which has the structure and logic of a video game allowing its player to begin again and avoid obstacles and reach the finish line. Lola even looks like she could be a video game character.
Lola, a punkish twentysomething must run across the city in less than twenty minutes to help her boyfriend, Manni, because he was supposed to have 100,000 marks to deliver to a gangster, but who left the money on the train by mistake.
Things get … odd.
I think Run Lola Run would probably be a much less enjoyable film if it had been played straight – it would still have all the necessary elements of a suspense story: a race against time; an appealing heroine; high stakes, and so on, but it is the brio with which it is told combined with wonderful editing which makes it so much fun. Source Code, which owes much to Twyker’s film, is pretty much a straight-faced version of it.
Watching it after all this time, it’s clear now how much Twyker has always been interested in Fate, Narrative, and what for want of a better term I will call That Meta Thing: he would go on to direct Heaven (from a script by Kieslowski) and co-direct Cloud Atlas.
Run Lola Run helped put Twyker on the map, and of course it also introduced most of us to Franka Potente, and she’s wonderful in this: fierce, determined, and vulnerable all at once.
And of course she runs. A lot.
She also sings many of the songs used in the film.
Verdict: Four Near Misses out of Five