Thursday, June 29, 2006
103. Stretched to the Limit
I saw Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run again, and went to the Internet Movie Database to get ready to write this, and was surprised when I saw the release date: 1998. I could've sworn it was earlier in the decade, in the post-Pulp Fiction movieworld where, at its most annoying, narrative was treated like Silly Putty all stretched--or snapped--with the ability to transfer other pictures onto its glossy surface. Then again, such a film could be exhilarating, like a Matisse cutout, not quite collage, but its own sharp self, its clear outlines bright.I'm not sure if Tykwer's movie is better or worse for having been made so relatively recently; after all, it seems, with its self-conscious multiple-version narrative, to be simply playing a game--and it actually announces itself as one, with a soccer ball (it is a German movie, after all) kicked high in our faces--and a game that was getting a bit long in the tooth by the late '90s. On the other hand, watching it again was still exciting: Its techno soundtrack, herky-jerky pace, time-travel snapshot sequences, and general exuberance once again grabbed me like Lola (Franka Potente) herself, still a sight to behold, a ripe fruit on the go, Milla Jovovich with an appetite. A Lola-come-lately it may be, but this movie still makes me grin.
And more. I had forgotten about Lola's yell, capable of shattering glass, drawing absolute attention--and, in the stunning casino scene, revealing its true power: to alter reality, tip the scales, load the dice--or, OK, fix the wheel--to make it all turn out right. By the third twenty-minute go-round of Lola's fateful haste, she ascends the final height--and no matter that Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) no longer needs the money; she shows us what she is worth, and it's more than the 100,000 marks her boyfriend needs. In two quiet interludes, Lola and Manni consider their places in the other's heart, and we see that, despite all uncertainties, all the Butterfly Effects of moving from point A to B, "the heart knows what it knows," as Stephen King (!) quotes someone somewhere.Lola not only keeps it together, she makes it happen, with every step and misstep, graceful bound and stumbling lurch. Without her, Manni would not only be sunk, he'd be not-Manni; by the end, you get the feeling Lola is no longer reacting, but creating. Lucky for us, she keeps running, or we'd go out like the small candles we are.
I am happy for Lola and Manni because they are given three chances to know what the heart knows--and worried for all of us who aren't in the cutout, who aren't able to stretch and bounce, but have to try to know the first time around, no second--let alone third--chances.
Posted by Paul J. Marasa at 4:31 PM
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