I really enjoyed Tom Whalen’s Film Quarterly essay on Run Lola Run. Yes, it’s 10 years old (and the film is even older) but the film’s subtle message about fate and determinism has been sticking with me recently as I sense big changes coming in my life quite soon:
Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run (Lola rennt, 1998) blasts open doors for viewers in the late 90s the way Godard’s Breathless (1959) did for viewers in the late 50s. In few other ways would I compare these two films. Godard’s exercise is tinted cool, hip, his characters posturing cartoons; whereas Tykwer’s is hot, kinetic, and his (at times animated) characters bristling realities. Though a profoundly philosophical and German film, Run Lola Run leaps lightly over the typical Teutonic metaphysical mountains. Tykwer’s work doesn’t have the Romantic receptive gaze of a Wenders or entertain the grapple with the gods of a Herzog, but instead possesses a ludic spirit willing to see life and art as a game. Nor, though as excited by the techniques of cinema as the film of a first-time director (Run Lola Run is Tykwer’s eighth movie), is it the loose, dehumanized display of, say, Pulp Fiction (1994) or Trainspotting (1996). Run Lola Run is fast, but never loose. It’s as tightly wound and playful as a Tinguely machine and constructed with care.