Three Times a Lady
Run Lola Run
Review by Ross Anthony

Poor Lola, she just got her moped stolen and now her boyfriend is going to get rubbed out by the bad guys ... unless ... she can find 100,000 marks and get it to him in twenty minutes.

Lola does a lot of running. However, that's not what the film is about. Rather, it's a study of the interaction between would-be strangers and ourselves, if chance meetings are varied by fractions of seconds. Whew... what a sentence! Basically, Lola runs her same 20 minute mission three times. The magic of film allows us to witness the big changes in outcomes, based on tiny changes in timings. A pretty cool idea.

The director also takes his fair share of creative license in this production. I guess he figures, "It's not possible to have three tries at any one instant anyway, may as well give Lola a shrieking scream capable of breaking glass. And draw a cartoon Lola on occasion to add to the soft-spoken surrealism." (That's not a real quote -- just me supposin'.)

Franka Potente (Lola) looks great on film. Her appearance matches the part -- striking red hair, but not distractingly beautiful. Her loser boyfriend is played so well by Moritz Bleibtreu that I actually care about him. Still, it's Lola's mission that is the beating heart of this little film.

Driving the three part marathon is a soundtrack factory sealed with industrial music. If pounding music sparks headaches for you, stay home or bring Tylenol.

I loved the opening shot of a soccer ball kicked directly up into the camera which must have been on a crane (or balloon or helicopter). I loved the shock Lola finds when she barges in on her poppa for the dough. And I loved the casino scene. (I'm being vague on purpose.)

Though lacking the solidity of a full feature drama, this colorfully nerve-wracking art film is an interesting study in chance events with some fun chili pepper moments.

In German with English subtitles.
Starring Franka Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu.
Writer/Director Tom Tykwer.
Produced by Stefan Arndt and presented by Sony Picture Classics.
Rated R.


Copyright © 1999 Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:55:52 PDT