Monsoon-A-Day ‘Run Lola Run’ (1999)

Welcome to Monsoon-a-day.
Where I watch and review a movie a day. Or whenever I fucking feel like it.

Day 84


Run Lola Run is a hyperkinetic, non-stop action film that separates itself from the Tarantino clone pile of the mid-late 90’s with its ingenious premise. While the cheap imitators focused on Tarantino’s witty dialogue and lackadaisical approach to crime, Tykwer focused on the devil-may-care rule breaking stylistic choices and narrative structure. Because nobody on planet earth had read a novel written before 1992, the story jumps in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were ground breaking. Audiences had never seen films break chronological order in such a way and it changed cinema forever.

Run Lola Run takes the non linear approach and flips it on its head. Instead of telling it’s story out of order, it tells the same story three different ways. The film presents a scenario–Lola’s boyfriend accidentally losses 100,000 dollars and if he doesn’t retrieve it by noon, a gangster will kill him. One scenario with three drastically different endings. An adrenaline infused cinematic butterfly effect where the smallest decisions effect everyone Lola comes in contact with. Because of the ever present ticking clock, the film never stops for a second. Perfectly balancing action, tension (is she going to make it in time?), and morbid curiosity (how is she going to fuck up this time?), it’s a unique potpourri made up of the craziest ingredients.

It’s a film that leap frogs over the cliches of the gangster genre and lands in a pond all its own. It’s a clever little firecracker that never stops exploding.

Run Lola Run is a dreadfully obnoxious “action drama” that confuses style with substance. Owing it’s entire existence to Tarantino, this film is a pretentious rip off of Sliding Doors that wears out its welcome fairly quickly.

Tykwer does an admirable job of trying to distract the viewer from the fact that the film barely has a plot by throwing every single goddamn trick in the book at them. Animation, split screens, heavy zooms, black and white flashbacks, switching between aspect ratios. This film has more tricks than a 70’s pimp.

Filled with unlikable characters that are devoid of any characterization and a plot that hinges entirely on random chance, Run Lola Run is baby’s first foreign film. Since you don’t need to subtle running, this is the film you show to people that hate watching films that require reading. Because of the unrelenting cacophony of Euro-trash techno bombast, this is the cinematic equivalent of shaking a baby in front of a set of keys.

Run Lola Run is a highly acclaimed German film from the 90’s that’s high atop my movies-I-need-to-see-before-I-die bucket list. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the film but I still haven’t gotten around to watching it yet.

One scenario. Three different outcomes. Did I watch it and love it? Did I watch it and hate it? Or have I only seen clips throughout the years? Since I’ll never reveal which scenario is correct, all outcomes are true.