"Run Lola Run" is loaded with alt-style photography, crazy camera angles, wild animation and a rockin' techno track, but the film hardly amounts to anything more than juicy eye candy.
Run Lola Run (1998, Blu-ray)
Directors: Tom Tykwer
Producers: Maria Köpf
Writers: Tom Tykwer
Features: * Commentary * Music Video * Trailers * Dolby TrueHD tracks
Franka Potente ... Lola
Moritz Bleibtreu ... Manni
Herbert Knaup ... Vater
Nina Petri ... Jutta Hansen
Armin Rohde ... Herr Schuster
Joachim Król ... Norbert von Au
Ludger Pistor ... Herr Meier
Suzanne von Borsody ... Frau Jäger
Sebastian Schipper ... Mike
Julia Lindig ... Doris
Lars Rudolph ... Herr Kruse
Andreas Petri ... Sanitäter
Klaus Müller ... Croupier
Run Lola Run Blu-ray Review
It's been a long time since I've last watched this little German indie. I recall finding the film quite memorable, but not particularly great. And again, more than 8 years since I last watched "Run Lola Run," (ten years after it's release) that same sentiment still holds true. "Run Lola Run" is basically a paper-thing plot built around a cheeky gimmick. The film is loaded with alt-style photography, crazy camera angles, wild animation and a rockin' techno track, but the film hardly amounts to anything more than juicy eye candy.
Franka Potente stars as Lola, a wired, hip looking German girl who must face the daunting challenge of finding $100,000 and getting it to her boyfriend across town in less than twenty minutes, or else he'll be murdered by some sort of mob boss. The challenge isn't just the distance, but the fact that Lola has no idea where she will be able to find that sort of cash. She embarks on not one, but three (two are in her head) different journeys in order to find the best possible location of the cash.
Director Tom Tykwer delivers a dizzying film woven with clever, but scant dialogue. He doesn't shy away from the angst of the characters and infuses every single moment of the film with a trippy, hip style. One moment Lola will be running, the next moment-the film jumps to animation, the next after that-there's a sequence shot on video. Lola even passes certain characters who have their own weird back-stories, shown in pictures.
Absurdist is the word with "Run Lola Run" which leads to an inarguably memorable experience. However, upon second viewing, I found problems with the film that marred my experience, and likely burned away all repeat value. The first is the film's wobbly pace. The film runs only 80 minutes but feels overlong and even repetitive, thanks in large part to several sequences that play out the same each time around.
The characters of Lola and Manni are equally problematic. They're just not very likable--acting like heroin addicts in need of a fix. Manni, who seemingly works for some sort of criminal, is frantic and intrusive, with hardly one moment of redemption. Lola's sweaty and dark eyed, as though she's strung out on some sort of drug, and her wild actions in the film only fuel those suspicions. Tom Tykwer never gives the audience a true moment of like-ability with either character. Even after Lola's tragic back story is (somewhat) revealed, it's still hard to find her redeeming.
"Run Lola Run" is an absurdist cult film in the truest sense, and while it has many errors, and relies far too heavily on it's gimmick, it will still have it's rugged fan base--a base that loves the movie despite the characters, the paper thin plot and the weak pacing. It's hard to deny though, that "Run Lola Run" isn't an inspirational and memorable film, even if it's only good enough for one viewing.
Film Report Card:
As entertainment: B
As a film: C
This is a review of the Blu-ray version of "Run Lola Run."
Sony presents the film in 1.85:1 widescreen at 1080p/AVC on a dual-layer BD50 disc. "Run Lola Run" was shot on a multitude of formats. Part of it is animated. Part of it is film and part of it is shot on video. The presentation here is nearly flawless, at least in terms of presenting the film as it looked in theaters. Comparing the transfer to others will quickly reveal some mistakes. The film is laden with dust and grain on the print. The contrast is also a bit blown out with flesh tones looking a slightly orange in tone and texture. I did notice some artifacting during the more frantic moments of the film as well. Regardless, this is the best presentation of this film available, easily besting the DVD presentation by leaps and bounds.
Sony presents the film with two decently mixed Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks (one in the original German and one dubbed in English). Both tracks are very inorganically mixed with surround effects loudly popping out. The film is very center heavy, but sounds tinty and hollow. The track is certainly not bad, but could have been so much better considering the booming soundtrack of this film.
Sony offers up the same assortment of special features found on the original DVD. Features include the following:
• Commentary -- Featuring writer/director Tom Tykwer and actress Franka Potente, this commentary is highly engaging as both Potente and Tykwer offer up an intense assortment of on-set behind-the-scenes trivia and antidotes. Fans will enjoy this track, if they haven't heard it already.
• Believe Music Video -- Worth a look, but nothing great.
• Trailers -- None for "Run Lola Run" though.
The film is presented in a blue "Elite" case and is pretty consistent with Sony titles. It would be nice to see less Blu-ray advertising.
"Run Lola Run" is an unusual cult hit. It doesn't hold as well as I had hoped it would, but it does have it's moments of brilliance despite it's many flaws. The Blu-ray edition is quite good, but disappointingly lacks any new in-depth special features or retrospective documentaries--annoying given the film's tenth anniversary.
Blu-ray Report Card:
HD Content: N/A
Recommendation: Give it a rent.
On Blu-ray disc: February 19th, 2008
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----R. L. Shaffer