I am a big Tom Tykwer fan. Between his latest, Perfume, his short in Paris, je t’aime, and the wonderful directing of Heaven from the late Kieslowski’s script, I must say he is unafraid to use any technical ingenuity he can think of. This type of delving into mixed genres and cinematic senses needs to start somewhere though, and that start is Lola rennt. This film is an adrenaline rush for the entire duration being driven by the pulsating techno/electronica beats behind all the action. From straight film to animation to freeze-frame montages of photographs, Tykwer never lets the viewer get bored. Even the script stays witty and poignant at the same time, portraying the love between our two leads as well as the crazy situation they have been thrust into. The film knows it is unbelievable, yet never uses it as a crutch. It shows us early what we are to expect and it never disappoints.
The crux of the story is that Lola’s boyfriend Manni has lapsed during his getaway from selling stolen cars. He gets scared on the subway when he sees the cops and accidentally leaves his bag of 100,000 marks on his seat to be stolen by a street bum. Blaming Lola for not being where she was supposed to be to pick him up, he calls her for any ideas on how to save his own skin. The problem, though, is that he needs to get the money before twenty minutes are up or his boss will kill him. Here begins the film and Lola’s running to get the money from her bank manager father before Manni holds up the grocery store he is at. During her journey, she passes strangers and learns secrets from people she thought loved her. Tykwer brilliantly shows what happens to these people in quick-paced montages of photos on their activities in the near future. Depending on what happens when they encounter each other, though, this look into the future is not set in stone. How do they get to meet for the first time more than once? Let’s just say Tykwer is not afraid to mess with life, death, and time in order to get his point across of love conquering all.
Besides the innovative camera techniques and the humorous dialogue and plot situations, the acting doesn’t falter either. All the supporting players know their roles and play them to full effect in order to complement our two leads. As for them, Moritz Bleibtreu fully encompasses the role of the up-and-coming criminal who’s fear and lack of confidence seem to get in the way of his lofty goals and Franka Potente never slows down in her portrayal of Lola. Potente is that girl who has rebelled against her more stuffy family, dyed her hair bright red/orange, tattooed herself, and fallen for the bad boy thug. Despite the lifestyle however, both of these characters are very much good people at heart, willing to do anything for each other in order to stay together. The cut scenes that bridge both moments of time travel help show this humanity. In bed, probably after making love, the two talk about what they truly mean to one another and whether love is true and if it will last after death.
Tykwer has crafted a film that was totally fresh at the time it came out. This German gem could be seen as a precursor to films like Crank and The Transporter. By no means are they similar in subject matter or violence and action, however, the use of music and fast editing in order to create a non-stop ride for the audience is prevalent in both. Lola rennt is an amalgam equal parts romance, comedy, action, and thriller, but also a 100% fantastic spectacle.