Ever been in a car accident? Been late for a bus? Run into someone and spilled your coffee all over yourself? You sat in that situation and thought, “Had I been one minute later, or one minute earlier, then I would have just gone on my merry way.”
The world conspires sometimes, or so it seems, to just jam you up. You are 30 seconds late and watch the train roll away from the station. Whatever the situation you find yourself in, there are a thousand moments that come together and decide your fate. You could have walked faster, taken a short cut down an alley, etc.
Run Lola Run is a film by Tom Tykwer. Franka Potente plays Lola, a woman in love with her boyfriend who loses 100,000 Deutschmarks that belong to a very dangerous man. To get that money back, her boyfriend Manni decides to rob a grocery store. The film is about Lola trying to raise the money and/or keep Manni from robbing the store.
Simple enough, right? What sets this movie apart are three alternatives to the eventual outcome. The movie literally is a short story told multiple ways with the smallest changes in the story line. Little coincidences, moments chosen or passed on, her falling down, running in to a car or missing it completely, finding her father having an affair, etc. Each little change in the story time and time again adds up to a very different outcome for Manni.
The movie is fast-paced, exciting, and very well shot. From animation scenes to exciting music tracks, this movie keeps you hooked. You might think it would get old, watching the same story over and over again, but with the subtle changes, the kizmit moments, the universe smiling or frowning on her goal, Lola lives out a new reality in every incarnation of the story. It is not the same story even once. From her leaping down the stairs to her running in to an old friend driving out of the side street to nearly hit her, Lola seems to be running up hill the entire time, and you kind of hope the best for her. As they story keeps getting retold, little things make you feel bad for her, or to feel differently about characters who seemed good earlier, but now are revealed as just shitty people.
It is a great film, a little obscure (being a German import), and as always is a clever retelling of an old story that explores the idea of the world being just a series of random moments, moments that can have dire ripples and effects despite seeming completely innocuous at the time. See this movie.