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Run Lola Run, a German film directed by Tom Tykwer, is a thriller that talks about a woman named Lola trying to obtain enough money in twenty minutes to save her boyfriend. The film follows Lola’s sequential journey showing three different scenarios of her rescuing plans. While Lola changes her paths and plans each time, people she encounters also receive distinct consecutive consequences resulted either from time or behavioral differences. Although the rescues are motivated by a strong sense of love, the film does not solely center on the love-bond between Lola and Manni. The life-changing twists of those who meet with and pass by Lola in the film show the interrelationship and importance of time, decision and fate. In this paper, I will discuss how the film deals with realism in an unrealistic setting. Having the restart button is never a concrete case, but the lessons of making decisions, learning from mistakes, living with surprises and running against time are genuine.
Life comes with many crucial moments. With one decision has been made, it will lead to a different life path. Tom Tykwer deals with the significance of decision making in the film. Within the limited time frame, he chooses to use several photomontages to portray different fates. For instance, the old lady with a stroller who gets her own baby taken away decides to steal another person’s baby in the first scenario. The photomontages show her love for the kid, her frustration after baby is taken away and her sickened excitement seeing another baby. In the second scenario, the montages again indicate moments with strong emotions like showing off the lottery ticket, overloaded happiness after winning the lottery and clams and satisfaction after owning the sudden wealth. The same montage technique applies to the biker and the hallway lady as well, showing their love stories or suicides in different scenarios. Whatever their destinies are, the photomontages catch the key moments, the moments with strong emotions that reflect how they perceive their decisions. Happy or sad or hopeful or disappointed, the moments are their turning points of life just like the old lady decides to live in an unhealthy relationship or deciding to buy a lottery. She lives with the same man and the same kid in two scenarios, but her decisions make a huge difference. The technique cuts straight to the points in fleeting speed where it conveys that sometimes it is just a matter of a fleeting moment that will ultimately determine a life path.
The setting of three scenarios is already exceed the conventional expectation of a film, but the unexpected factors that happen each time make the film even more complex and interesting. For instance, the first time when Lola encounters with the ferocious dog, she gets scared. When she is well-prepared in the second time, the dog owner unexpectedly trips Lola and makes her fall off downstairs. Similarly, after Lola fails to get money from her dad, she robs the bank instead. When she finally meets with Manni with the money, the scene almost makes viewers believe it is the end. However, an ambulance runs over Manni and leads everything to the third sequence. Even tough Lola has previous experience and memory, she still unable to avoid the unexpected events and people. Indeed, life is unpredictable and full of surprises. People seemingly feel confident about their doings based on their experiences, like Lola knows the dog will be there and viewers know Lola is prepared. However, the answer to who would expect the dog owner would get involved is absolutely no one. There is no guarantee that a similar experience will doom a success, but it definitely helps with better preparation in the future. The mistakes Lola learned from the first and second sequences lead her to decide to jump over the dog in the third time, but again, winning the jackpot and even successfully meeting with Manni with the extra money on hands are also surprises.
Besides Lola is the main character, time is another main matter that simultaneously exists. The film gives several close-ups to clocks and watches that symbolize the time. On one hand, it always reminds Lola and viewers of the limited twenty minutes. On the other hand, it indicates the crucial fact that you have to catch up with time rather than another way around. In an unrealistic setting that lives can be given a second chance and time can be reversed, the time runs at the same pace each time. Regardless what happens, it cannot prevent time from running. For instance, in the opening scene when Lola going over who can help in her head, the arc shot moves in circle like how clock runs. With Lola stands still in the circle, it forms strong contrast that the time does not wait as you stop. Additionally, when Lola screams in her dad’s office, the clock is broken to pieces. Though the physical object is broken and paused at eleven fifty, the rule of time can be resisted. When Lola asks the old lady for time, it already passed eleven fifty. Thus, the time is always running and Lola is just running out of time. People in real life race against time too, but without having the chance to reverse it. It is a race, an unfair one, that people have to adjust plans or speed up in order to be efficient enough in twenty-four hours.
In conclusion, Run Lola Run is a love story, yet reveals many philosophies that deal with life. Three scenarios prove that each person has a different fate and a fleeting moment and a decision can be crucial to determine a life path. Whether the life path moves toward a positive or negative direction, people can never predict the future because life may not go smoothly as expected. Though people can change their plans to pursue a better future, but time cannot be reversed or paused, people have to chase the time.
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