A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 233 – Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run – October 19th, 2010

Way back when Andy and I were both working at TLA he saw this without me. And he fell in love with it and couldn’t stop talking about it and, as one might guess if one knows me, I got utterly sick of hearing about it and finally flat out refused to watch it. Sure, it sounded like a neat premise, but not one that was going to be a religious experience. Though given my personal beliefs, it comes rather close, now that I’ve seen it. Nothing epiphanic, but it touches on things I believe about the world, so that’s kind of neat. Anyhow, I avoided it like the plague for ages, because I didn’t want to be told I had to love it.

I knew I’d like it when I saw it eventually. I’ve sort of been coming to the point where I want to put it in voluntarily. I suggested it the other night as a good subtitled movie for this week, and I’m sure that made Andy happy. And I did enjoy it. It’s a fun movie with a gimmick. It never gets all that deep, but that’s not the point of the movie. There are a few scenes with the two main characters in bed, talking about love and their relationship and the nature of life and death and whatnot. But the point of the movie is how the story is told.

At the beginning of the movie we learn the basics: Lola’s boyfriend, Manni, has lost 100,000 marks after what seems like a rather shady deal involving cars traded for diamonds. He has to get the money by noon or he’s dead. It is 11:40. So Lola has to come up with something. And through the course of the movie Lola tries three times to get the money and get to Manni in time. She fails utterly once, succeeds in getting the money but not in time the second time, and then the third time she would have managed but things worked out in other ways. It’s sort of a Groundhog Day thing, only compressed into a repeated 20 minutes, with a bank robbery, and in German.

One of the things I loved early on is that through the movie there are little snapshot vignettes of some of the people Lola encounters on her race to Manni, showing what happens to them in that iteration. In one a woman with a baby carriage ends up kidnapping another baby. In another the same woman wins the lottery. In another she finds religion. They don’t seem to have much to do with what Lola does when they meet her. It’s not as if she’s super nice to someone in one and things turn out well and ignores them in another and things go poorly. That’s not how it works. It’s more subtle. Just a tiny change means a huge difference in a life. In a way I almost like that better than the whole big dramatic show of what Lola herself does differently and how it affects it all. For every little action the universe branches out, creating more and more possibilities. It’s not just Lola and Manni who’re affected. It’s Lola’s father and the people in the supermarket and the woman with the carriage and the man in the ambulance. And all the lives they’ll touch too.

Unfortunately, those little stories dry up in the third section. We see one for the woman with the baby and that’s it. The man with the bicycle gets more story, but not his post-movie life. Same for at least one other character who otherwise gets a story. We get to see more of what happens with Lola’s father. We get to see a new version of what happens with a man whose car Lola runs over earlier on. We get to see what happens with the bicycle. But those little stories are gone. I understand why they don’t fit in so well in the third section, but I missed them. The thing is, in the third section things have to go differently. This time Lola has to get it right. She misses her father at the bank and things change drastically. And she misses her father because she pauses at the car she’s about to run over. Which changes the path of her father’s day too.

There’s a unique feel to this movie. It’s not just the gimmick, because it really is similar in concept to Groundhog Day, but the atmosphere is totally different. It’s partially the desperation of Lola’s quest, and the very short time period she has to work with. But it’s also in the magical realism sort of stuff that happens, with Lola’s screaming and how it affects things, and her animated race down the stairs playing on the television in her mother’s living room. It’s in Lola holding the hand of the man in the ubiquitous ambulance at the end. This is a movie that is fully aware that it’s operating in between realities, and therefore a lot of things can happen that wouldn’t necessarily happen in this one. I don’t think it’s saying anything terribly earth shattering, and to be honest I wasn’t too fond of Manni (he got himself into this mess in the first place), but it was fun, and it had the whole myriad possibilities thing that I adore. So I enjoyed it. Only took me what, twelve years to see it? I’m sure there’s a reality where I saw it in the theaters when it came out, so I’m not too fussed.

October 19, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

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