After its initial praise as a groundbreaking film, Run Lola Run still feels fresh (if distinctly ’90s) some 24 years later, and this new Umbrella release (under its World Cinema label) does it justice.
Lola (Franka Potente) has 20 minutes to get 100,000 marks to her boyfriend, Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), so he can make a payment to his boss, Ronnie (Heino Ferch). The cost of failure? Manni will be killed. The trick here is that the film shows us this scenario three times. Each time, something goes differently and thus, we see Lola’s choices play out in different ways. It is a great trick that allows writer-director Tom Tykwer to show both the butterfly effect we all unknowingly have on each other, as well as reframe each “try” Lola gets with extra urgency; the audience knows where things have already gone wrong, so it heightens the tension as we pray for her success.
The result is a surprisingly thought-provoking film that’s also simply fun and breathless to watch. Potente and Bleibtreu are great; their relationship importantly grounds the film’s more fantastic flights of logic. It’s the perfect example of a small film taking a simple premise and succeeding through pure ingenuity, enthusiasm and raw energy. (Potente also had no great skill running before the film nor did she practice much beforehand, so it’s to her credit how believable and substantial her running is in the film).
Umbrella’s new release includes a commentary with Tykwer and Potente, as well as a really nice “Still Running” feature that takes stock of the film 20 years later. It’s a great package all around that should please fans of German or world cinema.