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Though celebrating its tenth year since release, Run Lola Run is still the fast-paced, well-executed adrenaline rush it always has been. And though I hardly knew anything about this celebrated masterpiece prior to it being sent to me for reviewing purposes, I’ve since become a big fan. Read on to find out why.

Run Lola Run

Feature


Run Lola Run has a simple concept, yet is so beautifully crafted and well orchestrated that it has, over the last ten years, built a large cult following for itself. Lola, the charismatic yet feisty young woman, has but twenty minutes to gather one hundred thousand Deutsche Marks and get them to her endangered boyfriend who awaits for her in a phone booth.

If she doesn’t make it, his life would surely hang in the balance. His boss isn’t the most forgiving person in the world, after all. But what follows is a mad dash, explosive action picture that never ceases for a moment’s peace, that is, until Lola dies about a third into the story. It’s okay though, I haven't just spoilt the ending for you, so no need to forward the hate mail, unless you really want to. You see, Run Lola Run encompasses three films rolled neatly into one.

You’ll see three unique takes on the story, each with totally differing events, yet the goal remains the same throughout each. Lola has to get the money somehow, and each time it starts with the same shot: an old fashioned red phone receiver slamming down onto its base before Lola darts out of the room heading for... what, exactly? Her fate changes with every decision she makes.

Run Lola Run
In one story she may narrowly miss an oncoming car which will cause that car to crash into another. In another story she may hit it, meaning the car avoids crashing. These minor alterations in each story have huge ramifications later on. It’s completely breathtaking, and a fascinating trip into what are seemingly alternate dimensions. But don’t worry, this isn’t really a science fiction staging, but rather a pseudo take on the genre at the very most.

Writer, director Tom Tykwer’s vision does allow for brief animated sequences though, at certain points in the film. We’re also treated to small but entertaining futuristic glimpses of some characters Lola passes on the street or in corridors. For example, there’s a woman she twice bumps into, the first time she yells abuse at Lola. The camera then zooms quickly into her face and we see a ten second or so scene comprised of many shots of her possible future.

The second time, Lola bumps into her more lightly, so the woman says something different, but her future has changed. It’s completely different from story number one. This happens to about three or four characters she encounters on her marathon, and with each comes a curiosity as to their ultimate fate. This brings about a very interesting side to the vision of this film. After you’ve seen it you can’t help but wonder how your own life changes with the simple little things we do. It’s truly a fascinating concept and one that deserves to be seen by just about anyone with the remotest interest in good filmmaking.

What’s also interesting is the character of Lola herself. In each story we see more or less the same sequences of events, but in each we also see a different side to her. In one she is angry, aggressive and bold, in another we see a more vulnerable Lola. The sheer attention to detail here is astonishing, and often you’ll notice little things dotted about that you may have missed the first, second or even third time around.

Run Lola Run
After two viewings of this film I’d perhaps go as far as to say this is the best foreign film I’ve seen in a good long while, and I am quite often treated to faraway gems. Run Lola Run is, and always will be, a timeless piece of cinema, and a true masterwork of artful filmmaking you won’t soon forget.

Video


Considering the film’s age and artistic flair, I was surprised at the overall clarity and vibrancy of this high definition transfer. While is comes loaded with a bucket full of grain and a slightly inconsistent image, it nonetheless holds up reasonably well. What especially impressed me was the use of colour in this picture. Everything from Lola’s flaming red hair whipping though frame after frame and her colourful section of clothes certainly made for interesting viewing. The grimy locales and animated sequences also look good.

An unquestionably dirty looking image overall, Run Lola Run will still impress after you factor in the age and low profile, low budget release that it undoubtedly is. But thankfully it has that certain quality most Blu-ray releases seem to have; that finesse and high quality grace. It’s not perfect by any means, but I think this is the best the film will look for a good long while, at least until the video engineers give it the fullest attention it deserves.

Run Lola Run

Audio


Avoid the English language option like the plague. I usually say this where dubs are concerned, but here I especially mean it. While the dub isn’t exactly horrendous (believe me when I say I’ve heard a lot worse), it does latch a particularly corny element onto an otherwise great audio experience. My advice is to stick to the original (and vastly superior) German language option.

As for the quality of the audio, I am pleased to report that it is actually very good. It won’t set any new standards by any means, but it does do the film an ample amount of justice. Dialogue comes across particularly well, and some of the louder aspects of the film such as the smashing of glass or the crack of a gun are well handled.

Extras


The best feature found on this relatively sparse disc was of course the audio commentary. Hosted by the director, Tom Tykwer, and Lola herself, Franka Potente, it is both a highly interesting and thoroughly in depth insight into this classic film. Definitely worth listening to.

Up next there’s a feature called ‘Still Running’, which is a brief behind the scenes look at the film, once again hosted by the director and his lead heroine. Lastly there’s a music video called ‘Believe’, which was actually pretty decent. Well worth watching if you enjoyed the film.

Run Lola Run

Overall


Run Lola Run is a brilliant film that has thankfully been well preserved on this great Blu-ray disc for a whole new generation of film lovers to enjoy, and for old-timers to look back on fondly. I have become a huge fan of this film and encourage anybody else who has not seen it to at least rent it. You owe it that much.

The disc itself, while certainly not perfect, has its merits. The high definition transfer is mostly a solid experience, marred only by the age and low budget nature of the film and the usual swath of problems that come bundled with such a title. Still, this is absolutely the best you’ll have ever seen it. The audio is good, but I advise you stick to the excellent German language version with subtitles. There aren’t a great deal of features on the disc, but the commentary was a great listen. Overall, this is a great Blu-ray disc, and one that warrants a slot on your shelf.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.


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