This is a review of the 2008 All Region Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, in German with (good) English subtitles. The ‘look’ is stated as being ‘true to the original source master’: for a Blu-ray this provides a surprisingly non-pristine image, but it's fine to watch.
This 1998 cult German film is a thriller, running to a mere 79 minutes, and is another of those films that REALLY splits the jury. It is clear, even on Amazon, that some adore it, others cannot abide it. Actually, I can fully understand both viewpoints!
First the facts. ‘Run Lola Run’ was filmed during July 1997 on location across Berlin, though in real life, the route locations are scattered all over the city. The film was one of the earliest works by German director, screenwriter and composer Tom Tykwer ~ here he undertook all 3 tasks. He is also well-known for the same achievement with the successful German TV series, ‘Babylon Berlin’. The star of the film, playing Lola, is Franka Potente, in only her second film role. It made her a star, and she went on to appear in 2 of the 3 Bourne films, ‘Blow and ‘Che’ amongst others. The film was well-received. It was nominated for a number of awards including a BAFTA, and was the German OSCAR submission, but was not selected for the final shortlist.
So, the story! Lola’s boyfriend is working as a money courier for a very unpleasant, violent local gang boss, and leaves DM 100,000 of his illicit cash (about £35,000 in 1998) on a subway train. He phones Lola in a total panic, asking for her help. He MUST deliver the cash in 20 minutes. For the rest of the film, we see Lola trying to save him, in a ‘Groundhog Day’-esque ‘if this doesn’t work, try that’ set of alternate timelines.
As suggested by the title, the plot plays out at a frenetic gallop, both in terms of action and in terms of jump-cuts, split screens, freeze-frames, 360° spins and cartoon renditions of the real-life action. It is accompanied by a mind-bendingly manic musical score, some of it superb, some downright tiresome. Initially, I was irritated, then actually annoyed, but then, I found myself hooked ~ and amused. You have to accept that this is not a serious film, it is more a cartoon played out by human characters. They are NOTHING LIKE real people, and the entire film is an entertaining but surreal rollercoaster.
This German film is well worth persevering with, though it is UTTERLY outwith their wonderful but sober tradition of film-making ~ ‘M’ (1931); ’Das Boot’ (1981); ‘The Lives of Others’ (2006); ‘The White Ribbon’ (2009). Not a 5 Star offering though, more a high 4.