Run Lola Run

10 out of 10


Find $100,000 in 20 minutes or DIE.

The telephone rings. It is your boyfriend. His drug deal has gone wrong. You've 20 minutes to find $100,000 or he's dead. Go!

This is the sudden crisis into which penniless Lola, a German punk rock girl is plunged. Without even a bicycle to her name, she has to sprint through the streets to raise the fortune of a lifetime in just precious seconds, trying everything from selling her life insurance, begging from her relatives to even armed robbery amongst numerous other desperate other plans. With split screens and camera pans, it is remarkably filmed in precise real time with twenty minutes being exactly 20 minutes to the second, yet the film is not just 20 minutes long. As the film openly states, there is no explanation for it, but each time she dies she finds herself exactly back at the start of the 20 minutes.

More bizarrely, the film shows how split second decisions sends the life of everyone that she meets in entirely different directions. For instance, whether and how she collides with the lady with the baby, causes the woman to either buy a lottery ticket and win millions, becomes a born again Christian or just go home, have a deadly row with her husband and have her child permanently taken from her. The one exception is the man in the white car who is destined always to collide with another car containing three thugs from the Mafia, no matter how his encounter with Lola has changed his actions. And in amongst them all walks the almost Godlike blind woman who changes so little seemingly in micro-detail, but that will change almost everything. Above all, the race will change Lola as she saves life, learns the truth about her family and of her own origins.

Tyverk's film is said to have been written specifically for Franka Potente and is the one that brought her fame, subsequently to which she has gone on to star in films such as "The Princess and the Warrior", and "The Bourne Identity". Topped with a vast mop of electric red hair (a colour which is now known in Germany as "Lola red") and armed with only a scream that can shatter glass, she cuts a brilliant and heart pounding dash across the screen.

Despite having never been on general release, "Run Lola Run" was in the top twenty for box office returns the year that it was released in North America. Even though it is seemingly repetitive, this emotion-wrenching ride always leaves you guessing, particularly with the totally unexpected ending that had similar audiences across the nation cheering.

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Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett