Run Lola Run (Lola rennt)
Dir: Tom Tykwer
Tom Tykwer's cult 90s hit Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) is one of my favourite films of all time. It had everything I didn't know I wanted from a film, it broke all the rules and did so magnificently. It also acknowledges those that helped it get where it was and draws and maps its influences in a beautifully respectful manner, out of tribute and out of great love. It is reminiscent of Krzysztof Kieślowski's 1981 film Blind Chance, Kieślowski being a clear influence on Tykwer, with the German director since finishing the Polish director’s last film after he died. A lot of the imagery, particularly the spirals, are a direct influence from directors such as Alfred Hitchcock (as seen in Vertigo) and the overall plot feels like an updated version of a story he could have written, albeit in vivid colour and a dance soundtrack. The film's many themes range from the idea of chance, determinism vs. free will, chaos theory, the butterfly effect and the idea that there is an infinite number of parallel universes. This in turn touches on certain philosophies, such as Libertarianism, an idea that upholds liberty as a core principle, seeking to maximize autonomy and freedom of choice, voluntary association and the importance of individual judgement. Epistemology, which explores the nature of knowledge, the justification and rationality of belief and the analysis of its nature in relation to concepts such as truth and scepticism, scope and the overall criteria for true knowledge and its justification. It also taps into otherworldly spiritualism (the reoccurring scene featuring the blind women) and compatibilism, the belief that free will and determinism are compatible ideas and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent, that that freedom can be present or absent in situations for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with metaphysics, free will being a freedom one has to act accordingly to one's motives without arbitrary hindrance from other individuals or institutions. However, the fact that it is Lola's free will that changes the events for every character (because no one else seems prepared to take resolute and self-aware actions as she does) it does push the idea that absolute control of your own surrounding can be achieved by free-will. It seems other in the film (generally played by famous German TV or sports stars) understand this also and speak to Lola as if they've met her in parallel timelines already. This isn't Sliding Doors though, this is far more supernatural in many respects. Of course at the time I heard many people consider it as nothing more than an art house performance that sees a women running for ten hours straight and I know many who missed it first time round because they believed it. Theology aside, at the heart of Run Lola Run is a faced-pace, adrenaline-fueled thriller romance, with unexpected but well-conceived sections of animation and one of my favourite soundtracks of all time. I totally fell in love with Franka Potente after this as did pretty much every guy I know, it may sound strange but I've never seen anyone act as well as she did while running at high speed. Every frame counts and absolutely nothing is wasted, it breaks down convention while still appealing to the mainstream, it asks technical questions while reaching peak levels of entertainment throughout its run time and all of life's issues are explored through the motion of a woman running. It is a seriously overlooked masterpiece and one of my favourite films of all time.