Run Lola Run - B-
Viewed June 20, 1999 at the Angelika

Run Lola Run is a film about a single image: the sight of its title character (Famka Ponette), clad in lime-green pants and gray midriff-bearing shirt and topped with a sprawling mess of cherry-red hair, running through the streets of Berlin. The sheer repetition of this image gives it iconic power; Tom Twyker has created the ideal symbol for turn-of-the-millenium European youth. And this image is married to the best use of a techno soundtrack I've yet seen. Written by Twyker with vocals by Ponette, the pulsing beat of the tracks is Lola's mindset, one stuck in perpetual motion. The soundtrack isn't just musical overlay; it is absolutely vital to the film's impact.

Unfortunately, a single image isn't enough to drive a feature-length film, and Run Lola Run falters in its attempts to give any kind of thematic heft to its image. The Kieslowskian device that provides the film's primary conceit, that her 20-minute dash is repeated twice until a happy outcome is gained, is intriguing and her chance encounters with passerby give rise to an often witty rapid-fire montage of stills depicting their lives from that point on. However, there's no attempt at characterization, and without it, the thematic thrust backfires. There's little chance I'm going to buy its depiction of emotional interconnection if the characterization is completely arbitrary.