RUN LOLA RUN
Run Lola Run became a cult hit in Germany and in arthouse release in the West, largely it seems due to its score, which was designed to appeal to the drum-and-bass crowd. Director Tom Tykwer co-opts the inventively schizophrenic visuals that have become the trendy cutting edge dazzle of directors like David Fincher, The Wachowski Brothers and Oliver Stone. The film frenetically assaults one with slick, snaking camerawork, split screen, speeded-up action, rapid-fire zooms, changes of film stock, even witty little animated sequences. Its the anything-goes co-opting of MTV visuals the opening, for example, is a highly inventive shot that cuts from a quote from a footballer to a football flying up into the air and coming down on a crowd that forms into the films title. Tom Tykwer also gets much witty mileage out of little freeze-frame montages that flash forward to tell the stories of the various people that Lola bumps into.
That said, Run Lola Run also ends up a slight film. It is more enjoyable overall than the bland Sliding Doors but unfortunately the alternate timelines genre has by now lost its novelty and Run Lola Run fails to do anything substantially different with it. There are some individually amusing sequences such as where Lola takes her father hostage in the second story or where she ends on a winning streak at the casino in the third. However, the films only real novelty is in spinning the same events out with a series of variations, not unlike one of the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Films like this, when they create stories about wide variations resulting from different choices, need to make it very clear which choices it is that end up affecting different outcomes alas, in some of Run Lola Runs sequences, it is never clear what it is that brings some of the wildly differing outcomes about. For all its status as a culty, original film, Run Lola Runs only real success is one born of an aggressively busy directorial assault and a niche soundtrack than it substantially is of presenting ideas of originality or depth.
On the basis of Run Lola Run, Tom Tykwer became a celebrated name in arthouse cinema and went onto make The Princess and the Warrior (2000), Heaven (2002) and The International (2009). Tykwers returned to genre material with Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) about a serial killer who is driven by a hyper-acute sense of smell; Soul Boy (2010) set in the African slums concerning a boy who finds his father has lost his soul in a gambling game; and collaborated with Andy and Lana Wachowski on the epic cross-historical Cloud Atlas (2012). He also made A Hologram for the King (2016), which sounds like it should be a science-fiction film but isnt.
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