Ossus Library Index Action Movie Index


Directed by Tom Tykwer (1998, Sony Pictures Classics)
Starring Franka Potente, and Moritz Bleibtreu

A woman has to obtain $100 000 to save her boyfriend from the mob, taking three different times to do it.



2 stars+

August 21st, 2000 in the Theatre

    A fun movie; pointless, really, but all style, with an interesting twist.

This is a German movie (it sounded German, to me, anyway), with English subtitles.  Sometimes they speak so fast, as European tongues can, that the subtitles had trouble keeping up! 

The story is a very simple, twenty minute run, that repeats twice more with little things that go different as Lola runs into either a slight delay, or gets slightly ahead of herself. 

Lola's boyfriend, Manni, did a job for the mob, and was paid 100000 marks for the cars he transferred.  But he left the money in a bag on the subway, and he is a dead man without being able to pay back the mob.  So he calls Lola, who was responsible for him having to take the subway in the first place, because she was late picking him up.  He knows that a bum took the money, but there is nothing he can do about it. 

Lola decides to run to her father, manager of a bank, to ask for the money.  On the way, she is frightened by a neighbour's dog in the stairway of her apartment, she bumps into a woman with a baby in a carriage, refuses to buy a bike from a man on the street, causes a car crash (the guy is beaten up by the guys whose car he crashed in to), and catches her father in a conversation with his lover.  She is in the process of telling him that she is going to have a baby, and would he really want to be a father.  He throws Lola out, realizing that he will have a new family, which isn't defective, so she runs to where Manni is waiting, about to rob a grocery store.  She runs down the street, bumps into the bum, and watches an ambulance barely miss hitting a team crossing the street with a very large pane of glass.  The driver offers her a lift, but she refuses.  She is slightly late again, and he is in the process of robbing the store when she arrives, so she helps him.  They get away, but are trapped in alley, where Lola gets shot. 

The fun part was in the style.  Every time Lola crosses paths with somebody, we get to see what happens to them because of this contact, in a series of rapid still shots.  Some of these are tragic, and could be caused by, for example, the woman's annoyance at being run into.  She ends up losing her child later. 

As Lola is dying, she tries the situation again from the start, and we get to live through it a second time.  The neighbour trips Lola going down the stairs, so she is a couple of seconds later than she was the last time, and she has a limp for a few minutes.  She still runs into the woman with the baby carriage, whose life ends up being different, too.  She still refuses to buy the bike off the man, but doesn't have a conversation with him, so he ends up getting beaten up by the people from whom he stole it.  She has made up time, so instead of the car accident occurring in the front of the car, one car hits the side of the other.  The man still ends up in serious trouble. 

Whereas before, we got to know what kind of snake her father was, telling her that she wasn't even his, now he gets his payback, because Lola is a couple of seconds late.  The lover tells him that she would like to have the baby with him... but the baby isn't his!  Ha!  What a shaft!  So Lola barges in on him having a tantrum.  She tells him what she wants, but he dismisses her.  So she robs the bank, taking a lesson on gunfire from her previous experience robbing the grocery store.  She runs toward Manni, again bumping into the bum, and asks the ambulance driver for a lift, but he waves her away... and so doesn’t see the pane of glass, and he drives right through it.  Great scene!  Lola runs on, and reaches Manni just before he enters the store to rob it.  He is so happy and surprised to see her that he stands right in the middle of the street... and is hit by the ambulance and killed. 

She is so distraught that she tries the escapade again.  This time she jumps a flight of stairs, completely avoiding the neighbour and his dog.  She just gets a shake of the head from the woman with the carriage, because she doesn't get bowled over.  She tells the bike guy that his bike is stolen, so the guy gets off the road, and ends up selling it to the bum.  Lola ends up on the hood of the car, which stops instead of getting into an accident.  She knows the man.  In fact, the man is going to lunch with her father.  He arrives just before the father's lover can tell him that the baby isn't his, and so Lola sees her dad leave just before she arrives.  What can she do?  She has no money.  She can't save Manni. 

But Manni sees the bum riding the bike, and gives chase, finally pinning him down with his gun.  During the chase, they pass Lola's father and his lunchmate, causing them to get into a car accident with exactly the same car the man would have hit because of Lola!  I guess some things are just fate.

Meanwhile Lola is almost hit by a big truck, just in front of the casino.  She is lucky at the wheel once, and she screams a piercing scream to win on her winnings, all on the lucky twenty (each episode takes about twenty minutes).  So she ends up with the money, and Manni ends up with the money. 

Lola races to the grocery store, hitching a ride on the ambulance when it stops in front of the glass pane.  The man inside (who I think is her father's lunchmate) is dying, but she takes his hand and he stabilizes.  She arrives at the corner where she is to meet Manni, and sees him getting out of the mob boss' car, with a stiff handshake and a congratulatory pat on the shoulder. 

At the very end, Manni asks her what is in the plastic bag she brought from the casino.

It was fun, but all style.  Even the style was a bit ragged, but it was fun to try and anticipate what would be different because of Lola's contact with the people, and especially the different situations that a couple of seconds makes.  I would recommend seeing this movie for that, but I wouldn't go to see it again.  Once is enough.


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