Lola Rennt
(Run, Lola, Run)

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Details At A Glance

Category Drama Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.33:1 (4:3), Dolby Digital 2.0
Rating m.gif (1166 bytes) 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 Cast & Crew Biographies
Music Video - Franka Potente: Believe
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Tom Tykwer
Sony Pictures Classics
Columbia TriStar
Starring Franka Potente 
Moritz Bleibtreu 
Herbert Knaup 
Nina Petri 
Joachim Krol 
Armin Rohde 
Heind Ferch 
Suzanne von Borsody 
Sebastian Schipper
Case Brackley
RRP $39.95 Music Tom Tykwer 
Johnny Klimek 
Reinhold Heil

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9Yes.jpg (4536 bytes)
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
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Lola Rennt, aka Run, Lola, Run, burst onto the film market in 1998 to general success in Europe, where I am sure it was received in much the same way as I received it: Sliding Doors minus the soppy crap. The film was given a limited theatrical run in the more ethnocentric English-speaking market, and if the Australian market is anything to go by, I believe it came and went from the theatres pretty much by itself. Indeed, I saw a blitz of advertising for this film hit the local newspaper, with critical reception being quite positive indeed (usually a warning sign for me), when suddenly the film disappeared from theatres. This is a mixed sign where I am concerned, as I can recall a number of films that disappeared from the theatres in a matter of days that were far better than those that remained for months, while I can also recall many that were much worse. As you have probably guessed, I am much like Ian in that I have a very low tolerance to hype, although mine is slightly tempered by the fact that I can be forgiving in instances where the hype is deserved (Gladiator being a good example). Now, as Ian has stated, this film is going to polarize opinions. I tried my hardest to dislike this film because of the intolerable so-called music that, thankfully, is not allowed to dominate the film as has been the case in other films that feature it. However, unlike Go!, there is much more to this feature than the music or the advertising campaign, and this is reflected by the consistency and amount of awards that this film has won, even if said awards are far from mainstream (a good sign in my view). Personally, I would like to see more independent European films making their way to Region 4 DVD, both from Polygram and Columbia Tristar.

    For such a loved and lauded film, the premise on which it is based is exceedingly simple, hence the rather short running time. One morning, a young, fiery-haired woman by the name of Lola (Franka Potente) receives a phone call from her boyfriend, Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), who is mixed in with the local branch of the German mob. During the early part of the day, Manni was meant to handle the sale of a group of (presumably stolen) automobiles, and take the proceeds of the sale back to his boss. Naturally, Manni has screwed up the latter part of the operation by leaving the money bag lying around on a subway, and is left with only twenty minutes to come up with a hundred thousand Deutschmarks to give his boss. The basic idea is that unless Lola can get to Manni with the money in hand within those twenty minutes, Manni will embark on a dangerous robbery of a local supermarket that he is certain will be flush with the funds he needs. The film goes through this scenario three times, each time with Lola following a somewhat different path towards her rather fantastic goal, and each time with a different conclusion. As Lola runs through her situation each time, we see each event taking place in a slightly different manner, as well as some interesting flashes into the future for the characters she runs into along the way.

    What makes this film stand out from others of its kind is that, as was the case with the Dollars trilogy some thirty years ago, this film takes a basic idea from the English-speaking world and strips it of all the usual garbage that Hollywood feels to be so necessary with their films. Whereas Sliding Doors basically took a young British woman and showed her solving all of her life's problems by becoming an American, as some have put it, this film shows its people in a real world doing real things. The use of some excellent camera techniques and nice editing compounds the original theme of the film, making it a unique experience to watch for the first time. When I first viewed this film, I truly felt as if I were watching something new instead of merely looking at another regurgitated production. The aforementioned flashes into the future lives of support characters, whom Lola passes in the street, are featured in a series of quick stills, and this is one of the most original ideas I've seen in a film of this sort before. Of course, I have said my piece about the music in the film before, which is far from a reflection of the music I've heard that really comes out of Western Europe, but if this poncy synth-bleep twaddle can annoy me less than usual, then someone must be doing something right. Even the animated sequences look very good, in spite of their exceptionally crude animation. The physical nature of the lead role, played with a sort of bizarre edge by Franka Potente, makes me shudder to think how many hours of actual running were involved in making the many scenes in which Lola runs through the streets. The only way I can really fault this film is that I wish a little more expansion of the action had taken place, as the film could have really done with thirteen more minutes of story.

    All in all, I enjoyed this film far more than I was expecting to, and I would definitely consider looking at another German film of this kind in the near future. I have certainly come to believe that the Americans could learn a thing or two from the Europeans about making an intelligent drama with drive and purpose, and director Tom Tykwer certainly can't go far wrong on the strength of this effort. Run, Lola, Run might not be to your tastes, so I definitely recommend renting the film before you buy it, in spite of the fact that I am not sorry I chose to buy it sight unseen.

Transfer Quality


    In spite of the absence of a warning to this effect, Run, Lola, Run makes use of some slightly esoteric methods of photography, much like Three Kings, and these methods of photography have a noticeable effect on the final image. The transfer is presented in the original, accept-no-substitutes theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced. During most of the film, a standard film stock, most likely thirty-five millimetre, was used, which leaves us with a sharp, clear image with no real problems to complain about, even when this footage switched from colour to monochrome. On many occasions, a series of still photographs relating to one of the characters Lola runs into during the course of her running appears in the film, demonstrating the effect Lola's interaction with them has upon the direction their life takes. These still photographs have a rather lifeless, and somewhat dull look compared to the film image, as if the still images in question were photographed and then left in the sun for a few weeks. At other points in the film where the world without Lola is shown, it appears that a video camcorder was used, resulting in an image that looks similar to television broadcasts containing images of other television broadcasts. Finally, some sequences, most notably the opening credits, are animated in a rather crude, but effective manner.

    Overall, the sharpness of the image can be described as being very good, with only the video recorder footage suffering from any serious lack in resolution due to the inherent limitations of this photographic style. During some of these shots, especially from 55:08 to 55:18, some image ripple that appears to have been deliberate and the whole point of shooting in this manner becomes apparent, which is certainly disconcerting to look at in spite of having been assured that this was also in the original theatrical exhibition. During such moments as this, the sharpness of the transfer falls dramatically, resulting in an image that gives one the impression of watching the action on the viewfinder on a camcorder. The conversation between Lola's father and his girlfriend before Lola confronts him for the first time is an example of the other effect this type of photography has: the image looks dull and hazy, as if the image had been recorded to videotape and then blown up to DVD resolution. The shadow detail was uniformly very good, with the darker areas of the transfer being well-detailed and very clear. Some film grain appears in parts of the transfer, presumably because of the film stock in use at these times, but there are no apparent problems with low-level noise.

    The colour saturation is either exceptionally vibrant, or completely lifeless, depending on which part of the film's image you look at. Franka Potente's hair during this film is a wild stream of red, with so many shades and highlights that it is often hard to concentrate on the rest of the film. Indeed, the character of Lola sticks out like a facial tattoo among the more conservatively dressed and groomed people of Germany, which includes just about everyone else in the cast. Compared to Lola, the rest of the image looks dull and lifeless, although this is not specifically the fault of the transfer, but rather inherent in the subject matter that was shot. Much of the city in which the film was photographed has a heavily urbanized look where the only heavily-represented colour is grey. Given that you simply cannot create colour saturation where none existed before, the scenery overall is well represented by this transfer in spite of the fact that they suffer for their dullness in comparison to the film's central character.

    MPEG artefacts were not especially noticed in the transfer, but there was a moment from 55:08 to 55:18 where the image appeared to ripple as if it were being filmed under a few meters of water. This was either a deliberate effort on the part of the filmmakers, or an artefact of shooting this particular part of the film with a video camcorder, as the problem was noted by many who were quick enough to see this film in theatres. Personally, I did not mind this effect, as it gave what was otherwise a very ordinary moment something to attach itself to your mind with. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some aliasing at 60:50 that may have also been inherent in the original photography, as this is another videotaped sequence. In any event, I am certainly not willing to stake my reputation or my life on this artefact being inherent in the transfer process. In spite of a plethora of opportunities, the film is otherwise completely free of aliasing. It is easy to mistake the wild and erratic camera movement in some sequences for telecine wobble, but this also appears to be the result of the sequence being shot with an unsteady camcorder. A brief heat haze effect takes place at 61:52 during a shot of a truck, which is also either a deliberate effect or a problem with the original print. Film artefacts were mostly absent from the picture, although it would not surprise me to learn that the print was actually treated in order to have a scratchy look during some moments, and the commentary track contains an admission of the use of this technique during the opening titles.


    The audio transfer is exceptional, with nothing to complain about whatsoever. There are three soundtracks presented on this DVD, with both of the dialogue tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 with a bit rate of 448 Kb/s: the original German dialogue, and an English dub that was presumably created for the benefit of American audiences. Rounding out the collection is an Audio Commentary in English, recorded in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. I listened to all three soundtracks, although I was glad that the English subtitles defaulted to on because my German is such that I can only understand half of a given sentence. Being that many of my favourite songs are in German, I was quite keen to expand my knowledge of this language. The dialogue was clear and easy to understand, as much as dialogue can be when you don't understand the tongue it is spoken in. The English dub was also quite clear and easy to understand from start to finish, although I would not want to return to it too often. There were no audio sync problems with the German dialogue, although the English dub suffered the usual malady that occurs when a language that requires several syllables is dubbed over one for which the same word requires half as many.

    The music in this film is credited to Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil. I'd hate to offend anyone out there, but a poncy series of synth bleeps and artificial bass thuds does not constitute music. To the credit of this threesome, the music was tolerable to the extent that I could shut it out and simply watch the film, but it just makes me very mad that this sort of twaddle is allowed to take up space that could be occupied by real musicians. To suggest for a second that this is the predominant style of music coming out of Western Europe is utterly ludicrous, as my record collection will happily attest.

    I was expecting to hear a great soundtrack with a great amount of surround usage that made me wonder what had been slipped into my drink, and was a little disappointed. This is not to say that the original soundtrack is not a good one, but just don't expect great usage of the surround channels as we are used to see from Columbia Tristar discs. The main difference between the two soundtracks on this disc, in surround terms at least, is that the English dub loses all of its fluidity and position in the overall sound stage. This is something of a curiosity considering that normally, our language is the original language that the film was recorded in, and the English dialogue here really does sound as though it is in a strange, unfamiliar land. The German dialogue, by comparison, is much more present in the surround picture, with a natural resonance that brings the spoken words to life in spite of the fact that it's damned hard to follow exactly what the actors are saying. As it happens, the surround presence in the German soundtrack is rather limited, reflecting the fact that little of the soundtrack really requires support from the surround channels. The subwoofer was called upon to support the music and the occasional sounds of cars crashing together, and was generally well-integrated into the soundtrack as it was not conspicuous at any moment.



    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, but otherwise unremarkable, with no animation or audio of any kind. It is probably the ugliest menu I have seen from the Columbia Tristar stable in quite a long time, with the highlight marker being particularly hard to look at.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, without 16x9 enhancement, and with what sounds like Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. It is notable for the fact that it has no dialogue whatsoever, and the fact that while it is being played back, it seems to lock out all inputs from the remote. A very annoying feature for those of us who actually want to see such things as the total length of the trailer, and how many bits are being allocated to it.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    Biographies for director Tom Tykwer, as well as stars Franka Potente, and Moritz Bleibtreu are provided here. Not especially lengthy ones, either, even by the standards of Columbia Tristar, although I don't know how helpful a comprehensive effort would really be, considering that most of the films these people have made aren't even available on VHS here.

Music Video - Franka Potente: Believe

   Presented in the aspect ratio of 1.66:1, without 16x9 Enhancement, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. Again, while playing the video, all remote inputs are locked out so that I couldn't even inform you as to the video's total length, which irritates me no end. As for the music itself, while it is pleasant to know that Franka Potente actually looks very good when she isn't made up to look like a fire engine, the music is about as pleasant to listen to as Lola screaming during the main feature. Make her stop! Make her stop!

Audio Commentary - Tom Tykwer (Director), Franka Potente (Actor)

    Having previously listened to the commentary on Das Boot and finding, much to my surprise, that I found it remarkably easy to listen to people speaking English with German accents, I came into this commentary with my mind open. The commentary is rather entertaining and informative, providing a plethora of insights into the methods by which the film was photographed and put together. The commentary frequently fails to stay in sync with the on-screen action, with some threads of discussion being abruptly cut off as a result, but this adds to the charm. This is one of the better commentary tracks I have heard lately, although it does require a bit of effort to listen to.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The limited edition Region 2 version of this disc has been afforded a DTS soundtrack, which would really be interesting to hear. Whether or not this DTS soundtrack will be transferred to the standard version of the Region 2 disc when quantities of the limited edition run out is another matter. What we have here in Region 4 is certainly nothing to sneeze at, however.


    Run, Lola, Run was a surprisingly enjoyable film, presented on a nice DVD.

    The video quality is an excellent reflection of the director's intentions.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are good.

Ratings (out of 5)

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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
June 27, 2000. 
Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer