what i watched last week
a shameless xmas promo

#24: run lola run (tom tykwer, 1998)

(This is the 27th of 50 pieces that originally appeared in a Facebook group devoted to three of us choosing our 50 favorite movies. I’ll present them un-edited except for typos or egregious errors. I’ll also add a post-script to each.)

A couple of years after the release of Run Lola Run, Memento and Mulholland Drive intrigued audiences with their puzzle-like approach. Given my love for Lola, many people assumed I’d like those other films, too. And I liked them OK … well, I liked Memento OK, was less taken with Mulholland Drive. I didn’t like the way those movies indulged themselves; I thought there was a lot of showing off in a “look what I can do” way. Mulholland Drive in particular seemed so insular that an audience wasn’t invited to the show, leaving us with nothing to do but comment admiringly at the obscure brilliance. Since I was such a champion of Run Lola Run, a movie that preens with that “look at me” attitude, it appeared there was a disconnect in my opinions of the three movies.

But there is a fundamental difference between Lola and the others. Christopher Nolan in Memento offered a rather clinical study of time, while David Lynch in Mulholland Drive was lush but typically uninterested in clarity. On the other hand, Tom Tykwer in Run Lola Run is like a generous kid in a candy shop. He is delighted with all the treats, and (this is the important part) he wants to share them with everyone else. Run Lola Run is clearly the film of a person who loves what he is doing, loves playing around with his toys, loves excess, and loves sharing his love with the audience.

You could spend time trying to figure out the philosophical underpinnings of Run Lola Run. In his earlier entry here, Jeff called the film “an audaciously profound meditation.” I can appreciate his take, which is shared by many. But the only reason Run Lola Run is on my list of favorite movies is because it wallows in sensation. It is one of the most fun movies I’ve ever seen, and endlessly watchable (of course, the watchable nature of the film is built right into its structure: by the time you’ve finished, you’ve already seen it three times). Basically, I don’t care what Run Lola Run is about, and I find that refreshing, especially in comparison to such “deep” films as Memento and Mulholland Drive.

I can’t talk about Run Lola Run without mentioning two crucial elements. First, there has rarely been a film that did such a great job of matching its musical soundtrack to the visuals on the screen. If this were a silent film, it would be nothing. Second, Franka Potente’s Lola is iconic. You can imagine her running forever (although since she did her own running in the film, she’s probably happy to walk from now on).


There was only one comment, perhaps because the film had already shown up on someone else’s list. Maybe all of the comments are hiding there.


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