|Category||Drama||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.33:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0|
|Rating||Other Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital City|
|Year Released||1998||Commentary Tracks||Yes, 1 - Tom Tykwer (Director) and Franka Potente (Actor)|
|Running Time||76:54 minutes||Other Extras||Biographies - Cast and Crew
Music Video - Believe (Franka Potente)
Suzanne von Borsody
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||MPEG||None|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Dolby Digital||5.1|
||Soundtrack Languages||German (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 256 Kb/s)
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
|Subtitles||English||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or
And yet, for a film that has been the subject of such critical acclaim, the story is exceedingly simple. Lola (Franka Potente) receives a telephone call from her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), who has made something of a monumental blunder. It would seem that he is acting as a runner for a person involved in somewhat illegal activities and has been entrusted with the task of delivering the sum of 100,000 marks to his boss after a transaction. The way the Australian peso is diminishing in value, a conversion is probably worthless but take my word for it, this is a fair chunk of money. Unfortunately, Manni panics when the police get onto the train he is travelling on, for no good reason, and quickly departs the scene. More unfortunately, he does so without taking his bag of money with him, said bag then being found by a street dweller. Based upon previous experiences with his boss, when purloining a carton of cigarettes from a shipment earned Manni a decent head butting, he is scared that unless he hands over the full 100,000 marks by the appointed time of midday (hey, the corn had to be sown somewhere), his boss will kill him. So he turns to Lola for help - the only problem being that the hand-over time is twenty minutes away. So how would you raise 100,000 marks in twenty minutes? That is what is facing Lola, and compounding this is the fact that Manni is convinced that the only way to raise the cash is to rob a store, which he will do in twenty minutes time if Lola does not front with the required money. The race is therefore on.
What makes this film stand out from the crowd is the fact that Tom Tykwer has put together a really compelling solution to the situation, not once but three times, albeit with subtle variations in the best tradition of Sliding Doors. This has been done through the expediency of some good film techniques, some great camerawork, some nice editing, some brilliant music and a heck of a lot of originality. In other words, all those things that are so lacking from many, if not all films that come out of Hollywood. The originality is evident in little ways, but most notably in the way that, as Lola runs past some characters, Tom Tykwer takes time out to briefly explore those characters' future lives through still photographs. The originality is also evident in the way the film was shot: flashbacks are shot in black and white, current sequences not involving Lola or Manni are shot on video tape, whilst current sequences involving Lola and Manni are shot on 35mm film. Through the expediency of these devices, you have a visually different film that in itself captures a lot of interest. There are also the subtle differences between the three variations, to show how a few seconds either way can make a complete difference to an outcome. The originality extends to the way the film is so heavily dependent upon music, the pulsating beat of the Euro-style music providing the driving tempo to the film that becomes quite hypnotic at times. Add to that the fact that much of the vocalization in the music is actually from Franka Potente herself, which is another unusual touch of originality. Even the animation sequences, which could so easily have come over in a very lame way, seemed to add something positive to the film. To be honest, this is one of the most original films I have seen for a long time, at just about every level. Franka Potente does a sterling job in the very energetic lead role, and I would hate to think how much actual running was involved in putting the film together: it would certainly have to be one of the most physically tiring roles ever put onto the big screen, I would have thought. Judging by this performance she has some talent and it would not surprise me to see her pop up in a few more independent films in the near future, from both Europe and America. Moritz Bleibtreu is suitably scattered as the panicking boyfriend, although the role is obviously far less pivotal to the film. The supporting cast is a collection of relatively well-known actors in Germany, but virtually unknown outside of that country, cast in what really amounts to a bunch of cameos slightly askance from their normal roles.
As far as I am concerned, this a terrific film that I enjoyed tremendously. It is quite an intoxicating mix, fuelled enormously by a driving, pulsating music track and demonstrating that originality is thankfully not dead in film, leastaways not apart from Hollywood. I have not seen anything of Tom Tykwer's work before, but on the evidence here he too may well be destined for stardom in independent film in a much broader market than hitherto. Run, Lola, Run is definitely not to everyone's taste, but I would strongly recommend that you give this film a view.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced, as expected from this source - other distributors please take note.
It has to be borne in mind that three distinctly different types of stock are used in this film, and that these have varying degrees of inherent problems that are well-and-truly manifested in the DVD format. Obviously, the transfer suffers from a wide degree of inconsistency in the visual aspect, as the video sequences are noticeably softer in definition and significantly more grainy than the 35mm film sequences. So, when these two juxtapose on a rapid basis, the inconsistency in the transfer is extremely noticeable. The film sequences are decidedly more detailed and much sharper, with the black and white sequences tending towards nice definition, albeit less sharp than the 35mm colour film. Overall, the definition would have to be considered better than average, with some of the film sequences positively shining in this regard. The transfer is generally very clear, although again the video sequences are distinctly lacking in comparison to the film sequences in this regard. Shadow detail is uniformly very good throughout. There does not appear to be any low level noise problems with the transfer. It should be pointed out that there are a couple of quite noticeable lapses in focus during the film.
What more needs to be said about the colours on offer here than to say look at Lola's hair? The bright red colour has been handled superbly throughout with not a hint of colour bleed nor oversaturation at all. The black and white sequences are a little muted in the depth of the black but this is a deliberate choice and not a DVD problem. Even though it lacks significant depth to the blacks, the transfer is nonetheless a very nicely-handled effort with no murkiness to the grey tones at all. There is little to complain about from a colour perspective here at all.
However, the actual transfer displays a couple of serious blemishes, although I do not rightly know what exactly to call the main one. It should be noted that the opening title sequences, as explained in the audio commentary, have been deliberately treated to have a scratchy look and this is not a problem with the transfer, which is more than can be said for the sequence between 55:08 and 55:18 which displays some very ugly artefacting that is quite off-putting indeed to the visual enjoyment of the film. This is a videotaped sequence so it may be that it is an inherent problem with the tape, but the effect is somewhat akin to watching the film through a foot of rippling water: it is almost like a gross example of shimmer across the entire frame of the film. Whatever it is, it seriously detracts from the film and I would hope that it is not a reflection of shoddy mastering, but rather may be a result of an inherent problem with the tape. Apart from that, there did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be many significant film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, apart from one rather noticeable instance of quite ugly aliasing around 60:50 that is completely out of character with the rest of the film. Despite plenty of opportunities, the film is almost free from aliasing otherwise. There is also one rather noticeable instance of what is almost a heat haze type effect at 61:52 which I am inclined to believe is an inherent problem in the original print and not a mastering problem. Film artefacts were not a significant problem at all during the film.
For those to whom it is important, the English subtitles default to on for this film, which is only logical since the default soundtrack for the DVD is German.
There are three audio tracks on the DVD, the default German Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. You know that you are being treated with respect when the distributor makes the foreign language, and native tongue of the film, the default and then also has the English subtitles defaulting to on. I listened to all three soundtracks, although I have to confess that I did little more than sample the English soundtrack as I much preferred the German soundtrack. Actually, I surprised myself by being able to understand quite a bit of the German soundtrack! No small feat for a foreign language challenged individual, but demonstrating that being able to order at McDonalds in Germany does indeed constitute the basis of a foreign language skill!
The dialogue came up nice and clearly, and completely understandable in the transfer. There were no audio sync problems with the German soundtrack at all: obviously the English soundtrack suffers the usual problems with dubbed soundtracks.
The musical score for the film is somewhat of a committee effort, but the result is an impulsive, propulsive effort that fires the film along at a quite frenetic pace at times. This really is an exquisite example of how music can be such an essential component of the total film. Take the music out of this film, and you quite simply do not have a film at all. Superb stuff indeed and there are plenty out there in the film industry who need to sit down and watch and listen to this film to see how it is all done.
I guess the quality of the soundtrack is demonstrated by the fact that despite the almost three complete viewings of the film, the only comment that I committed to paper about the audio was that the English soundtrack is a disappointment. Now that does not mean to say that there is anything remiss with the soundtrack per se, but rather that the dub simply does not have the same life and fluidity of the native language. This, I would suspect, is the problem with any "dubbed" language track, but of course we English speakers rarely face the problem since most films on Region 4 DVDs are in our native language. The main difference between the German and the English soundtracks is that the German soundtrack is much more present in the overall sound picture, with a naturalness to the timbre and feel of the vocal track. The English soundtrack conversely sounds a little more recessed and has nowhere near the same natural resonance to the sound. General surround channel use is relatively limited, but this is a film that really requires little in the way of such use. Similarly, the bass channel does not get a huge workout here other than to provide some really nice resonance to the music and to provide emphasis to the odd occasion when it is required (such as the car crashes). The German soundtrack really is quite dazzling and magnificently balanced with a gloriously clear bloom to it: rarely have I heard a soundtrack with so much space in it to allow the sound to really blossom as it should. The German soundtrack would rank as one of the best I have heard.
A superb video transfer, let down by two glaring problems.
A stunning audio transfer.
A pretty decent extras package.
© Ian Morris (have a
laugh, check out the bio)
18th May 2000
Amended 26th May 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 84cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|