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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run is a German film with has an absolutely amazing concept and almost lives up to it. Essentially the titular character has 20 minutes to make one hundred thousand marks. Unfortunately she is without a car or really any method of transport and has to you know, run to places. The reason she has to do this is her boyfriend lost all the money from a heist he helped pull, and now the crime boss wants his money, or the guy dies. It's a fairly compelling if generic motivation, and keeps it simple. The interesting twist is she runs this journey three times, each with slight differences which change the world and outcome around her enormously.

The film-making style is also interesting because to show these changes to the future there are numerous very brief montages showing what happens to the people she interacts with, though only the minor characters, the major characters' plots play out in real-time. Now the first two run-throughs of the film end disastrously, with one of the main character's dead but surprisingly the last ends fine for all involved. I say surprisingly because this is a German film, and they are not known for positive or uplifting endings, but this one is actually a happy ending. The protagonists don't even have to do anything terrible to get the money.

Another point that helps the film is the main character, who is entertaining to watch and is so determined to save her boyfriend that though their are only brief intermissions between the three 20 minute runs which showcase their relationship we understand their devotion. Also look at her hair, it's absolutely gorgeous. Due to her actions in the film and general appearance it is obvious that Faith from Mirror's Edge takes some inspiration, though Lola theoretically has no prior training or experience, and is just a normal girl who really wants to help her boyfriend. Also she weirdly has an almost supernatural ability to scream, which is brought up several times throughout the film.

A final point in the film's advantage is the incredible soundtrack which keeps up the frantic pace and speed of the film incredibly. It has a unique mix of German and English songs, and it complements the action incredibly well. Because of this the film feels like a combination of Crank and something like Falling Down, where an ordinary man is driven to extraordinary deeds  by incredibly unlikely circumstance. Of course it is a good deal more entertaining than Falling Down, though far from perfect.

That's not to say the movie is all good though, as it is periodically punctuated by awful animated segments. The quality of animation on these is just bad and it is questionable why the director put them in given how stylized and well done the normal segments are. The credits is one of these sequences and inspires little confidence for the actual film, despite its quality. The director's interesting style as well can lead to a kind of disjointed feel with all the different segments leaving out and adding parts seemingly at random.

Overall the film carries itself at a good pace, has decent characters with a very believable relationship between the two protagonists, and keeps the plot moving very quickly, though sometimes a little to quick. It is also a tad on the short side which is interesting given how packed with events the film is. Perhaps a little bit more time could have been devoted to the protagonists' lives outside of the twenty minute periods, but overall the pace works well, and it ends up ending right when it should.

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