RUN, LOLA, RUN

(89 minutes, Tom Twyker, director)

Reviewed by Anthony Neil Smith

This German import grabbed a lot of attention in its limited theatrical release here in the USA, mostly from people who follow the film industry and are always looking for the next rulebreaker. This one is the real thing, in that regard. Now out on video, I recommend that anyone who loves crime films/crime fiction go rent this immediately. It's a monster of a new direction that I hope to see much more of in the 21st Century.

I had heard this movie compared to the video game mentality: when you die, you start over and try to do things differently next time. That's all fine, but the wonder of this is the subtlety of the differences each time you play. Half-seconds count. Destiny hangs on how wide you turn a corner. The story here is more the story of a moment in time than anything else--Lola has to find 500,000 Marks to help her boyfriend pay off a debt. He threatens to rob a supermarket in 20 minutes if she can't reach him with the money in time. So off she goes, sprinting throughout the rest of the movie. In some cases, she bumps into another person for a split second, and we see in quick cut snapshots the way that person's life unfolds. A remarkable trick. Thing is, if Lola were to alter time just a little--be there a half-second early, say something differently--that person's life could go on a totally different track.

I read an interview with Douglas Winter, who authored the novel RUN, in which he stated that he writes several chapters at once, flipping back and forth between them as the ideas come. Hard as it is to comprehend, that's sort of what I feel when watching this film, like its three acts were written simultaneously. We're discovering what it takes to make a compelling story in the information age--same elements as classical storytelling, but faster, spliced, rough on the edges, teetering on the unreal but still all too real, and (of course) voyeuristic.

An amazing piece of work. Highly recommended. See it now. You can warm up dinner when you get back, but hurry, to the car! Right now!


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