Directed By Tom Tykwer
Sony Pictures Classics
By: Eric G.
German director Tom Tykwer spins three “what if” segments against a hyper-kinetic live action/animation juxtaposition in this frenetic film about a girl trying to save her dim-witted boyfriend from certain death for losing a bundle of cash. Franka Potente plays Lola, a cross between Milla Jovavich’s character in The Fifth Element and Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, who runs frantically for help while fast jump-cut edits and a pulsating electronic soundtrack drive your heart rate to the point of anxiety. The first ten minutes or so were such a sensory overload I wish I had been able to hit rewind so that I could catch all of the shots. Tykwer’s pacing slows down somewhat, but the tension never lets up.
There is not a superfluous frame in this picture. Tykwer’s film is planned out to the nano-second, jam-packed with carefully plotted details. Slow-motion scenes are strategically placed in the midst of utter chaos, creating a dynamic not unlike the rape scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. Two flashback sequences, shot in red light, are the most lucid scenes in the film and serve as brief interludes to the driving momentum as well as quality character development.
On each of her twenty-minute runs, Lola bumps into the same characters in slightly different ways, and Tykwer alludes to the old theory that even the smallest touch can change a whole person’s life. He even goes so far as to show us each person’s future in a snapshot collage from the moment Lola touches them to their inevitable destiny. Lola’s affect on the viewer is almost as significant. Her flaming red hair and exposed bellybutton encircled in a tattoo of arched flames exude a tough sensuality the likes of which have not been seen on film since Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita.
Run Lola Run successfully and unpretentiously balances action and art- a trick most American filmmakers have yet to master.