The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Extacy à la Tykwer

with 18 comments

“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time”

Run Lola Run begins with a quote by TS Eliot. It’s a quote that I’ve seen around quite a bit, but so what? It fits. And what follows after it is certainly not like anything else I’ve ever seen on a screen.

This is a film in the genre “Life is full of choices and crossroads. Depending on decisions you make and pure luck (or lack of thereof) your life can take a lot of different courses. And here we explore them and show them to you.” It’s a genre I like quite a bit, as evident by my previous praise for Mr Nobody.

The story is simple and takes place in a 20 minute frame. Lola get’s a telephone call from her boyfriend Manni He’s calling her from a telephone booth and he’s in an emergency. He needs to get hold of 100 000 mark in a hurry to be delivered to his criminal boss. If not something “terrible” is going to happen. Lola tells him to wait where he is and starts running while trying to find up a way to get the money for him. The story is repeated three times, with slightly changed circumstances by chance and by choices with different outcomes as a result.

But it’s not the story that makes this movie truly original. It’s the style, which is a bit of crossover between a music video and a computer game, which turns out to be a lot better and more enjoyable than it sounds.

It might be the pumping, hypnotizing techno music in the background that causes it, but whatever the reason was: this movie left me so happy, so ecstatic, so energized and giggly that I don’t know what I possibly could write to convey the feeling.

I’ve never used any stronger drug than alcohol and coffee, but I figure that my experience resemble to what it’s like to be on a high of something very illegal.

I think I’ve fallen in love. How else could I explain that I couldn’t resist the urge to watch it a second time only a few days after my first viewing? Normally the idea to do so wouldn’t even cross my mind! As a matter of fact I rarely watch movies a second time, even not after several years, since my list of movies-I-want-to-see is so long anyway. I’ll never get through it before I die and considering how limited my time is, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of it on repetition.

I didn’t only fall in love with Run Lola Run; I think I also am developing a crush on its creator, the German director Tom Tykwer. Earlier this year I watched his latest movie, 3, which is a somewhat unconventional love story about a ménage à trois – a middle aged couple who unknowing of each other have a love affair with someone outside of their marriage. What they don’t know is that they’re seeing the same man.

3 isn’t as energetic as Run Lola Run, but it’s stylish and beautifully made and with a little bit more fleshed out characters, which to be honest is something that Run Lola Run lacks. Not that it matters since it’s not that kind of movie.

It’s a lucky pill, but without the negative side effects.

Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt, Tom Tykwer, GE, 1998) My rating: 4,5/5

Written by Jessica

November 21, 2011 at 1:00 am

Posted in Run Lola Run

18 Responses

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  1. Jessica, I love Run Lola Run, especially because of the style that you mention. Have you seen The Princess and the Warrior? I’m a big fan and think it’s nearly as good as Lola, though very different. Heaven is also a strong film from Tykwer. 3 was actually showing here at the film fest that just ended but I wasn’t able to see it. I’m looking forward to checking it out. Nice review.

    Dan Heaton

    November 21, 2011 at 4:59 am

  2. No I haven’t seen The Princess and the Warrior or Heaven but I really want to now!


    November 21, 2011 at 7:36 am

  3. I remember finding a similar joy in the pure visceral energy of the film. It is one I definitely need to watch again in addition to more of Tykwer’s films generally. You’ve definitely helped push 3 up my anticipated films list.


    November 21, 2011 at 7:52 am

    • Great! To be fair I think the reception of 3 has been so and so on your side of the Atlantic, judging from a few reviews I’ve come across. But I thought it was beautiful. I don’t know if the topic might bee to sensitive…


      November 21, 2011 at 7:03 pm

  4. Run Lola Run is such an awesome film: I know exactly how you feel after watching it for the first time. That bliss, the rush of awe that accompanies it, knowing you’ve witnessed something out of the box, something bizarre and wonderful and inspiring and entertaining all at the same time.

    It’s the music, the editing, the way Franke Potente sexies up the screen with that awesome smile (I think I fell in love with her the first time I saw this – nothing I’ve seen her in afterwards, though, measured up to this), and the crash-bang storytelling method make this one hell of an amazing ride.

    Rodney Twelftree

    November 21, 2011 at 9:22 am

    • Sexy? That’s actually not what I thought of in the first place, but then I’m not a guy. 😉
      I thought she was sort of powerful, not primarily intended for the guys to drool over. Just a woman with a lot of initiative and energy. And a bloody good runner.

      Anyway: apart from the sexy stuff we’re on the same page.


      November 21, 2011 at 7:09 pm

  5. I must admit I have a massive softspot for RLR. It is a really great film and stands up well in the test of time.

    I haven’t seen it for a while now but I may have to give it a re watch. Thanks Jessica

    Scott Lawlor

    November 21, 2011 at 10:05 am

    • It felt as if it could have been made this year, if it wasn’t for the use of telephone cards. I had completely forgotten about their existense!


      November 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

  6. I’ve seen the movie two months ago and I liked it but not as much you. I’ll put in a second recommendation for the Butterfly effect, it has a similar theme.

    And I personally don’t rewatch many movies either, still got a over 20 movies laying around that i have to watch. I don’t get people who see the same movie twenty times, at most I think I’ve seen a movie about 5 times.


    November 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    • The Butterfly Effect. I hear you sir! I really need to watch that one.


      November 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

  7. This is a good movie, it was a long time since i saw it but as i remember it was good. I also recommend the Butterfly effect but be aware that there are at least two differnt versions out in the market.


    November 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm

  8. There are four different endings of the movie but the dvd I own and bought in Sweden is the one ending I like best. My copy just says “The Butterfly effect” so I guess thats the one. Plox might know more.


    November 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    • Wow, that’s a lot of endings. I reckon I’ll just stick with whatever version my library has. If they have the movie at all.


      November 25, 2011 at 7:38 am

  9. I never get tired of watching this film. I find Tykwer’s career has fallen off a bit of late. While I enjoyed Run Lola Run, The Princess and the Warrior, and Heaven his films after that have been rather forgettable for the most part. I still need to see his latest film, 3, but I thought both Perfume and The International were pretty weak. Hopefully he will get back on track soon.


    November 25, 2011 at 4:05 am

    • I’ve seen Perfume, but it’s long time ago and I need to revisit it. I liked 3, even though the reviews I’ve seen have bee lukewarm. It’s nothing like Run Lola Run in Energy. It’s more about the state of mind of a middleaged man. “So this is it?..” Not sure about how you’d feel about it. I thought it was pretty. Even a bit cute.


      November 25, 2011 at 7:37 am

  10. I made a huge mistake while watching this movie. Because I knew the plot a bit, I compared it with the “Blind Chance” by K.Kieślowski. “Run Lola Run” looks so luck base and so simplified that I couldn’t enjoy it. I watched story too much wondering how one thing goes into another and miss the style that you said is what this movie worth for.
    Still noticed techno music. Not a fun of that kind of music, but like it here, because it fits very nicely. Even re-watched the moments of the running because of the music.


    November 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

    • Well it sounds as if you managed to enjoy it a little at least? It’s definitely not an intellectually challenging movie. It’s more about enjoying the pacing, the music and the style. The “alternative storylines” concept can be made in so many ways, and without having watched Kieslowski’s take on it (yet), I think this is amining for something quite different. I never grow tired of this kind of movies.


      November 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

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