Run Lola Run is a nifty art house exercise that won the audience award at this year's Sundance Festival. It carves out no stylistic or conceptual territory and resorts unabashedly to cliché in its beat-the-clock storytelling. However, at a fleet 76 minutes, it may well hold the interest of most viewers.
In German with English subtitles, Lola was written and directed by Tom Tykwer, and with its nervous synergy of electronica soundtrack, quick edits, animation, and other computer-enabled techniques, it is likely to appeal most to a late-adolescent and young-adult audience.
Without giving away too much -- which some reviewers have already done -- Lola's quest is, quite literally, a race against time. She is trying to get 100,000 marks to her drug-runner boyfriend before the gangster he owes it to kills him. The gimmick of the movie is that we see three versions of her run which end in three different outcomes.
Franka Potente is an initially low-affect Lola who, in the various courses of the film, blossoms into rage, humor, and fierce determination.
The movie's length works in its favor; it's refreshing to see a film that knows how long it should be, gets in and out, and doesn't suffer from bloat. True, Run Lola Run takes itself too seriously, and the punky attitudes of its lead characters tend to undercut its aspirations to provocative metaphysics. But if viewers can forgive those flaws, they may find it a fairly entertaining little divertissement.