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RUN LOLA RUN
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu
Director:  Tom Tykwer
Audio:  Dolby TrueHD (German and English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish and Portuguese) 
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 Hi-Def and Standard
Studio:  Sony
Features:  See Review
Length:  81 Minutes
Release Date:  February 19, 2008

Film ****

What a rush!  Run Lola Run is one of the most exhilarating experiments in purely kinetic filmmaking to hit the screen in quite a while.  But even beyond that, itís a film that toys with the idea that the decisions we constantly make can greatly alter the outcome of our lives.  Itís similar territory to that of Sliding Doors, but explored in a more intense manner here.  In this picture, mere microseconds can lead to, or avert, impending doom.

As the picture opens (after one of the best title sequences Iíve seen), Lola (Potente) receives a call from her boyfriend, Manni (Bleibtreu).  He has just lost the 100,000 marks he was supposed to deliver to the mob.  She must somehow come up with the money before his meeting with them in 20 minutes, or heís dead.  Down goes the phone, and Lola is off and running.

The structure of the film shows the same twenty minutes three times, but with subtle differences that greatly affect the outcome.  Writer/director Tom Tykwer is in love with this idea, and even supporting characters get in on the fun.  We see Lola run into a woman at one point, and in a fast series of photographs, we see the rest of this womanís life.  In a later scenario, Lola doesnít connect, and the outcome is quite different.  This is chaos theory personified.

Tykwer also toys with the concept of time as an enemy.  From the opening shot, in which a grotesque clock opens its jaws and swallows us, to the whole counting down notion of Lola and Manniís scenario, he illustrates this point in none-too-subtle, but fun ways.

This is a film constantly on the move, as you might expect.  Lola runs, and runs, and runs, and the camera spends most of its time tracking her.  The few quieter scenes are welcome relief from the motion, but never allows the tension to let up.  Itís a marvelous example of the kind of storytelling that only cinema could express.

Fascinating also is the concept that we donít get to know Lola and Manni at all, apart from these, the most crucial moments of their lives.  The film is not really about them, but about those intense, desperate minutes where, like in Einsteinís theory, eternities seem to pass in mere moments.

Still, the lovely Franka Potente is a real find as Lola.  It is her energy that drives and sustains the picture, and despite the lack of depth created for the character, her charisma inspires the audience to go along for the ride.  We like her enough to care about the outcome of her story, and thereís certainly something about her pluckiness in accepting the daunting task of coming up with a large sum of money in such a short time to save the man she loves.

One word of adviceÖtry to watch the movie at least twice.  Youíll be amazed at how much more you see in it the second time around, and therefore, how much more youíll appreciate the film.

Video ***1/2

Hi-Def makes Run Lola Run pop, but also shows occasional flaws in the film...in the pre-title sequences, you'll notice a share of blemishes and spots on the print.  There is a touch of grain here and there owing to the strong contrast, but the high transfer rate makes for richer, more vibrant colors and crisper details than ever before.  Not quite as strong as other Blu-ray titles, but still a winner.

Audio ****

You can watch the film in either German or English Dolby TrueHD.  There's not a lot of demand on the rear channels, but the almost-constant techno music is a treat, with moments of dynamic range and terrific clarity throughout.

Features ***

The disc contains a new Blu-ray featurette called "Still Running" which features Tom Tykwer and Franka Potente looking back on the movie ten years later.  There is also a music video for Franka Potenteís ďBelieveĒ (not the same as the Cher song), plus a look at the anniversary edition of Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Blu-ray, and an excellent commentary track with Tykwer and Potente (in English).

Summary:

Run Lola Run takes a simple notion of time and destiny, and uses the cinematic arts in all their explosive, kinetic power to express and capture that idea.  This is a run youíll want to make time and time again. 

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