Lola Rennt/Run Lola Run/Film Review

Film Review: Lola Rennt (Run Lola Run)

For an even more interesting review of this film than mine visit Dr. Barrie Wilson's paper on this film at

Dr. Wilson's Reflections on Run Lola Run

Dr. Wilson presents this film from 4 differing perspective each having its own impact upon the actors. After reading it I was inclined to study such obscure concepts as Gnosticism.

Tom Tykwer is a German director whose works I'd never seen prior to Run Lola Run. This film has a translated English title that sounds like a phrase in an elementary school reader, but it is anything but elementary. After seeing Run Lola Run, I must see more of Tykwer's works.


Here is a film that puts blockbuster action, convoluted plot lines, multiple sequence takes, a pulsating rock music score, cartoon animation, stop-action photography, and super-slow motion all together to come up with a movie that is a departure with any cinematic style I've ever seen.


There is a distinct implication of divergent worlds coming together in each retelling of the events the film depicts. Tykwer makes use of an idea from theoretical physics known as the Many-Worlds-Interpretation. He wants us to see how diverging outcomes result from the exercise of the extraordinary wills of the principal characters. Though this willing themselves into alternative realities by the principals is an obvious causality violation, the viewer should be more than ready to suspense his disbelief. The sheer pace and power of this work is enough to hold your attention. The stylistic content is crafted, precise and entirely new.


Both Franka Potente (Lola) and Moritz Bleibtreu (her lover Manni) are excellent in their roles. I think Bleibtreu is the stronger of the two. And her father (depending on which interpretation you believe, he may or may not be her father), Herbert Knaupp evolves with the shifting emotional composure of his character flawlessly. Here is a brief description of the story.


Lola answers her phone at her mother's house, and from the first seconds this sequence sets the tone, ratchets up the pace, and traces out the story's plot. We are thrown into the lives of two criminal enterprising youthful lovers. We can impute from their frenzied conversation a few things: they have been drug-trafficking go-betweens for a more sophisticated drug smuggler for some time. Lola and Manni work together on their heists.


In this case, Lola has failed to meet Manni on time and he has in turn committed an error that now he feels will end his life. He has lost a satchel containing 100,000 Deutsch Marks on the subway. A vagrant has picked it up. The bag was destined for his contact, a dangerous homicidal criminal. Manni is beside himself with fear and tells Lola he has 20 minutes to get this 100,000 Marks back. He is due to meet this thug contact at 12 noon. Lola swears she will help him get the money. And then she's off to the races. Therein lies one of the weak points of the film. She did a bit TOO much running.


Numerical symbolism abounds in Run Lola Run. The 20 minutes to get a 100 K marks means Manni must get 5,000 Marks a minute. Manni is heard protesting that a 10th of this per minute amount (500 Marks) is worthless to him. Lola bets on 20-black-single (the time before zero hour) at a casino and wins. Surprisely, in one version of what happens, the denouement has the characters actually aggrandizing their fortunes by 100,000. Manni explains to Lola on the phone that he's going to rob a nearby convenience store because he knows it takes in 200,000 Marks a day and by noon, it should have taken in 100,000. Tykwer also plays with a host of science ideas. One idea is randomness. In the first version of the 20 minute countdown, the results are tragic for Lola simply because Manni does something unpredictable, causing a cop to accidentally discharge his gun.


By far the most mentally stimulating aspect of this film is the multiple depictions of Lola's mad dash to raise 100 K Marks for her lover Manni, before 12 noon. Whomever she contacts as she runs all over creation, will have a changed subsequent reality. This is illustrated with stop-action photographic sequences. Sometimes this reality is horrible and tragic and at other points positive and uplifting. Tykwer is showing us that even the most coincidental contact between humans can lead to enormously important consequences. In this respect a little chaos theory is introduced. He is also saying to viewers: here are three different ways this story can play out, take your pick.


Finally, Tykwer uses clouded love scenes between Manni and Lola as a device to take us from one possible outcome to the next. These scenes give us a reason why, the transpiration of events could be counter to what we've just been shown. Lola wants to know that Manni will not forget her and go on with his life as if they had never met. Thus she wills a different reality. Manni in his turn wants to continue his life with Lola and wills a different reality. These scenes provide the bridge between the high-energy action sequences.


Run Lola Run is a film to be remembered, rewatched and hailed as groundbreaking cinema.

Robleh Wais 9/22/03


Another film with mathematical implications is Tzameti 13

13 Tzameti

Tykwer produces another stunning film: The Princess and the Warrior

Der Krieger und die Kaiserin

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