Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Run Lola Run

Here we are again, on Fishing in the Discount Bin, when I watch one of the movies I own, and blog about it, because that's how empty my life is.  Today, we get to the late-1990s cult classic Run Lola Run.  This pops up in my notes at June 1, 2014.

Sometimes, I'll pop one of my movies in the ol' Blu-Ray player and just watch my favourite part.  Such was the case with my recent watching of Run Lola Run.  However, once my favourite part was done, I found I got caught up in the whole film, and wound up watching the whole thing.  Not a bad accident to make. 

Run Lola Run was one of those films that seemed destined to become a cult classic.  A foreign film from Germany which found a sliver of mainstream crossover appeal when it was released in North America in 1999.  With a trippy, sci-fi kind of feel, hyper-stylized filming techniques, and that hard-driving techno soundtrack. Cutting edge at the time, but now dating it as product of the 1990s. 

I remember reading a lot about it when it first came out.  Siskel and Ebert gave a favorable review, as I recall.  I'll never forget Marc Horton, the film critic for the Edmonton Journal.  His description of the film always stuck with me.  He called it "the first post-modernist action film." 

I first saw it a little more than 10 years ago.  In that post-college daze, where I was still trying to figure out what to do next in life, I spent a week in Vancouver hanging out with some friends who were building a life out there.  Throughout that week, they rented a whole bunch of indie and art house films that I just had to see.  Run Lola Run was one of them.  I've begun rebuilding my blog from that era...what did I say, some 13 years ago, after first seeing it?

"This movie was very cool. The visuals, the pacing, the soundtrack, not to mention that the actress playing Lola was just hot. It even had something resembling a happy ending. It will not disappoint."

But seeing it all those years ago must have stuck with me because, about 5 years ago or so, I saw it in the discount bin at HMV for just $8 and thought, "Ya know?  I really need more foreign films in my library." 

It's a set-up we've seen dozens of times before.  Manni, Lola's boyfriend, is a low-level thug, and he's doing one last job before leaving the life for good.  But, thanks to a comedy of errors, the money he was delivering to the boss has gone missing, meaning he's in debt to the mob to the tune of 100,000 marks.  Desperate, Manni tells Lola that if she can't bring him the money in 20 minutes, he'll get the money by robbing a nearby grocery store.  So now, Lola's on the run to get the money, hopefully from her banker father, before Manni does something stupid. 

But, this is where the post-modernism comes into play.  The film then shows us three different scenarios...three different ways this can all play out.  Is it three different scenarios, or does the universe grant Lola a do-over every time she messes up?  There is enough evidence suggesting the latter, as Lola always seems to acquire some knowledge or skills that helps her the next time through, but it's always left unanswered.

My assessment from 13 years ago hasn't changed that much.  What really makes this movie an adrenaline rush is the constant motion.  The music, Lola's run, everything is just moving at all times.  Such a kinetic rush as the film just keeps driving forward.

And it's really fascinating to see how the three scenarios play out, and how everything winds up being connected together.  And how we get quick glimpses into minor characters futures. 

Ultimately, it's a depiction of chaos theory...how one minor change can have massive consequences.  It's good.  It's still good after all these years. 

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