Run Lola Run (Blu-ray Review)
Release Date(s)1998 (January 19, 2022)
Studio(s)Sony Pictures Classics (Umbrella Entertainment – World Cinema #5)
- Film/Program Grade: A-
- Video Grade: A-
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: B
[Editor's Note: This is a REGION-FREE disc.]
Taking the late 90s independent cinema scene by storm, Run Lola Run was a shot in the arm to traditional film structure, and how telling different versions of the same story can not only alter an outcome, but be surprisingly compelling. The film puts forward the notion that any number of moments playing out differently could lead to alternate conclusions, for better or worse. Lola is given multiple obstacles and distractions along her titular jog; how she interacts with them can have many repercussions on not just herself, but anyone who crosses her path.
Lola receives a phone call from her boyfriend Manni that he has accidentally lost a bag filled with 100,000 Deutschmarks, which he was meant to deliver to his boss. In twenty minutes, he has to meet him with or without the money, threatening to rob a grocery store in order to get it all back. In a panic, Lola runs out of the apartment in pursuit of finding the money and stopping Manni from committing armed robbery. After her first attempt, the film restarts from the moment that Lola runs out of the apartment, giving her further opportunities to do things differently in the hopes of successfully finding the money and saving herself and Manni from potential doom.
Director Tom Tykwer, who would go on to work on films like Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The International, and Cloud Atlas, became forever synonymous with the film, as did his leading lady, Franka Potente. Lola’s pink hair, the variety of the visuals, the constant running, and the techno soundtrack became so widely known that even if you haven’t seen or heard of Run Lola Run, you’ve likely been exposed to it in popular culture in some fashion. The film received vast critical praise, won a number of awards, and continues to influence to this day.
Run Lola Run was shot by director of photography Franke Griebe in color and black-and-white on 35 mm film using Arriflex cameras and spherical lenses, finished photochemically, and presented theatrically in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Umbrella Entertainment brings the film to Blu-ray as #5 in their World Cinema series with an existing high definition master, which is an extremely good one. Run Lola Run is a very stylized film, filled with both color and black-and-white cinematography, animation, still photos, and many opticals. Some of it was even shot on video. In addition, intentional imperfections were added in post-production during certain sequences, such as scratches. As such, it’s always going to be an imperfect-looking film in high definition and beyond. That said, this is a lovely HD presentation that captures that frenzied aesthetic perfectly. Grain management is well handled and detail is high in every shot. The color palette bursts with swaths of red and green, and every other color under the sun. Shadow detail is abundant with deep blacks and excellent contrast. The image is stable with unintentional light streaks and speckling leftover. This master also hides the shifts from various elements, particularly the video, quite well, and never appears overly jarring. It’s a great presentation.
The audio is included in German 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio with optional subtitles in English SDH. Like the video, the audio for the film is aggressive and almost never sits still. The brief interstitials of Lola and Manni lying in bed together bathed in red are the film’s quietest moments, and even they are given plenty of aural room to breathe. Dialogue exchanges are clear and discernible, and both sound effects and score dominate the soundtrack, leaping in and out of each speaker. Only 7.1, perhaps even a Dolby Atmos track, could improve upon it.
The following extras are included.
- Audio Commentary with Tom Tykwer and Franka Potente
- Ten Years… And Still Running (HD – 16:58)
- US Theatrical Trailer (HD – 1:24)
In the audio commentary with director Tom Tykwer and actress Franka Potente, they watch the film together and avidly discuss it, sharing their experiences of making of it. The two have a great rapport with each other, so it becomes an enjoyable conversation between old friends, educating us on how the film was made. It’s a lovely track. Still Running is a retrospective making of with Tom Tykwer and Franka Potente. Divided by chapters, they discuss their work on the film, including the preparation, the shooting, the post-production, and the eventual release. We also see glimpses of rehearsal videos, minor deleted moments, blown takes, storyboards, and pre-visualization shoots. It’s an excellent piece that moves rather quickly, ultimately leaving you wanting more, which is both good and bad. Last is the film’s US theatrical trailer.
Not included from other DVD and Blu-ray releases is an additional audio commentary with Tom Tykwer and Mathilde Bonnefoy, an extended making-of documentary, various EPK interviews with the cast and crew, the music videos for Wish and Believe by Franka Potente, a TV spot, photo galleries, and the German theatrical trailer.
The disc sits in a clear amaray case with artwork that features the US theatrical one sheet on the front, the German theatrical one sheet on the reverse, and a still from the film on the inner sleeve. Everything is housed within a slipcover featuring a version of the film’s traditional home video artwork.
Run Lola Run continues to hold up as an effective piece of filmmaking. Most would consider it an art film, others a compelling story, but what it actually does is marry the two in an imperfect harmony, exploring themes of what moments in our lives, big or small, will affect our futures. Umbrella Entertainment’s Blu-ray release of the film satisfies with a great A/V presentation and good extras, even if they’re a bit incomplete. The overall package is a nice addition to their library.
- Tim Salmons
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