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Film Review: Run Lola Run

What do you do if you get a frantic phonecall from your beloved telling you they require 100,000 notes of hard currency in 20 minutes on pain of (their) death? This is the dilemma faced by the fiery-haired protagonist Lola played by Franke Potente. From the first moment that we encounter her, the film races along at breakneck speed forcing the viewer to keep up.

Her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) has botched a massive smuggling job for an underworld crimelord (Heino Ferch). A moment's lapse of concentration has lost him the heist and no explanations will placate the boss. Lola is forced to take drastic action and begins her marathon quest to sort everything out. Shots of Lola running desperately through the streets are backed by a pulsating techno sound-track, also written by the film's director Tom Tykwer. Three different versions with of the story are told with very different endings. It all has the effect of Groundhog Day on Speed. Although fate is one of the main themes running through the film, it is also alluded to in small snatches of detail by Lola's encounters with people she passes on the street.

This pacy race-against-time is interspersed with deeply black humour, notably Lola and Manni's post-coital pillow talk and Lola's sporadic screaming fits throughout (particularly in the uber-lavish casino). Tykwer shoots the minor sub-plots in a hand-held camcorder style which doesn't distract from the main story. He also uses snippets of crudely drawn animation at times - not dissimilar to those awful Haribo ads - to replace shots of Lola racing around Berlin which have a quirky effect.

At a mere 80 minutes, this is a worthy offering from a talented director. From the non-stop plot and triangular narrative structure, to the infectious sound-track, Run Lola run will leave you out of breath and wishing it wasn't over so quickly.

Sinead Gleeson

(bullet) 'Run Lola Run' is on show in Dublin's IFC until Feb 4, 2000

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