Sometimes life has a habit of catching up with us and throwing a curve-ball we could have done without. This is what happened Lola (Franka Potente, Blow, 2001) one morning. A life hangs in the balance. Directed by Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas, 2012). The film is broken into a number of parts, there is the first “Act” which sets the story and then three “runs” which are the same scenario played back but slightly differently each time. Each run looks at the impact of actions on individuals giving us a number of flash-forwards.
The problem is Lola’s boyfriend, Manni, (Moritz Bleibtreu, Das Experiment, 2001) who can best be described as a petty criminal, has 100,000 DM which he has to get to his”boss” following a series of car transactions, cross border smuggling and diamonds. Sounds easy enough, he would use Lola’s scooted to deliver the money. , or at least it was. We learn from the opening call that Manni was waiting for Lola but she never turned-up, her scooter was stolen, as a result he had to use the metro to get the money delivered. The problem is, he lost the money on the train while he was heading to drop-off it off after he panicked and left it behind him after he saw two security guards. A tramp on the train finds the money. He must have the money or else he is a dead man.
Desperate for help he rings Lola, he has about 20 minutes before his boss, Ronnie turns-up looking for his money and most likely kills Manni for not having the money. He blames Lola’s failure with the scooter as the cause and essentially loses the plot repeatedly blaming her until she tells him to stop and that she has a plan to get the money to him within 20minutes. He has a plan also, rob a convenient supermarket. Lola disagrees and asks him to wait, she has a she is going to ask her father who is a bank manager.
This is where the film starts to earn its stripes. The first run scenario kicks-off with a carton sequence of Lola running to get to the bank. As she passes various people such as the lady with the child in the pram, we discover that these people also have stories, stories which are sometimes influenced by events during the day. The woman later steals a baby after losing her own. Then there is the man who offers to sell his bicycle, we later see him being robbed off his bike, but all ends well for him as he marries a nurse who took care of him. As this is going on we see her father (Herbert Knaup, The lives of Others, 2006) in his office having a heated discussion with another woman. When Lola gets there , after literally bumping into one bank clerke and showing us her future history, she asks her father for the money, he says no. To add to her troubles he announces to her that he is leaving her mother to marry another woman and also that he is actually not her father. Leaving him she runs to the supermarket, Manni is about to raid the place, she joins him but in the trouble that follows is shot. Shouting “Stop” the run ends.
The second run starts with the original phone call. Repeating the run, she passes the woman with the pram, this time round she wins the Lottery,, while the cyclist is a drug addicted bum. Getting to the bang, her father is arguing with the woman saying he cannot leave, she tells Lola not to interfere, the argument expands and Lola leaves running in to a security guard. She takes his gun and holds up her father, forcing him to get cash out of the bank. After a number of delays the bank is surrounded, but it turns out the police think the bank is being robbed by somebody else. She gets to Manni, but this time he is knocked down by an ambulance as he goes to rob the store. They talk about what she would do if he died, but he is not dead yet.
The third run starts as with the others. This time she avoids the woman, who in this reality goes on to have a religious experience. The guy with the bicycle this time stops at a sausage stand, and who is there only the original bum from the train who offers to buy him a drink, telling him how strange things can happen. As Lola runs to the bank she hits into a car owned by a colleague of her father’s. This time her father and the other woman are discussing the possibility of children. As Lola gets there she see her father drive off with his colleague, desperate she goes into a casino and actually wins the money she needs. Meanwhile Manni actually sees the tramp cycle past him, he chases the tramp and manages to get the money from him by pointing a gun to his face, the tramp gives him the money and asks for the gun, which Manni gives him. Lola eventually arrives, worried that Manni is not there she looks around, seeing him getting out of the car with his boss, all happy. Walking away Manni asks here is everything was okay…
This movie not only asks “What if?” but also tries to answer it. A first class film which stands the test of time