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Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt) (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

In the 1990s, independent films were on the rise and studios like Miramax were at the forefront of distribution. Many studios created a separate wing to focus on and gather the independent, documentary, art house and international films under a single banner away from the blockbusters and bigger star studded fare. Sony Pictures developed Sony Pictures Classics for this very reason in 1992. And for the 30th Anniversary of the studio’s formation, they will be putting out a 4K Ultra-HD box set with 11 films from the course of their history, including 10 that are making their debut on the format. This review will be visiting the 1998 film that was my own personal gateway drug to the joys of international cinema, Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run starring Franka Potente. You can order yourself a copy of this impressive box set, which would make a fantastic gift for that special cinephile in your life, using the paid Amazon Associates link below.

Film

In this visually and conceptually impressive film, two-bit Berlin criminal Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) delivers some smuggled loot for his boss, Ronnie (Heino Ferch), but accidentally leaves the 100,000 mark payment in a subway car. Given 20 minutes to come up with the money, he calls his girlfriend, Lola (Franka Potente), who sprints through the streets of the city to try to beg the money out of her bank manager father (Herbert Knaup) and get to Manni before he does something desperate.

If you were tasked with selecting exactly one film that would best encapsulate everything the 1990s brought to the table or evolved with filmmaking, there’s no doubt in my mind that Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt) would be that film. Tom Tykwer’s third time’s a charm against the clock thriller brings all sorts of influences into the blender and pours out one of the best smoothies you’ll ever digest. His film brings a lot of the “MTV generation” staples to the screen, but also incorporates video game culture, techno/rave stylings, Tarantino and even some touches of Kevin Smith among plenty of other things.

Tykwer’s masterpiece is an exhilarating splash of shooting and editing. Not only his he terrific at pacing and putting together an impressive against the clock plot, but its the way he’s telling it that requires so much work that many probably don’t stop to think just how complex, challenging and calculated it all has to be. The film showcases a lot of different video styles that range from film, to video, to stop-motion stills to animation. Many of these aesthetics were quite regular and familiar when it came to music videos, but playing as a feature film was something quite fresh and new having been seen in the likes of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” or Republica’s “Ready To Go”.

Lola’s journey in the film plays not too dissimilar to that of the Groundhog Day motif, with just less tries at the same segment of time. But I’d argue its in league but has a very different mentality. Here we see the ripple effects of slightly different decision making which courses deeply through the lives of others. Yet, it doesn’t seem like the memory from a previous “try” sticks. We, the audience know, and the sort of changes and reveals work later on for our enjoyment, but the characters have no idea. This is very much in the video game mold, where the player hits the “continue” button after an unsuccessful attempt at a level and decides to do it differently the next time around.

Run Lola Run holds a very special place for me. Its a film that start to finish is forever in my brain as I watched it a lot once I discovered it at age 19. I didn’t see the film until I was shown it in college during my first film class. Until then, I had been pretty ignorant of non-English speaking international cinema. Tom Tykwer’s film opened up my eyes to what cool, advanced stuff was possible. Once I acquired the DVD for my own collection, this was a film I forced many of my friends to watch. It also had me seeking out another Tykwer film and other international films which led to other filmmakers I would love. Lola Rennt was an instant all-time favorite film for me and the ultimate gateway to a larger, greater landscape of film.

Video

Disclaimer: Screen captures used in the review from the standard Blu-ray, not the 4K UHD Blu-ray disc.

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-100

Clarity/Detail Run Lola Run features a deliciously lovely 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut. While the film features many different video sources, each and every one of them appears terrific. The animation even bumps up and looks much more fluid and you can even sort of seem more detail in the hand craftsmanship. The “modern” shot footage is absolutely excellent with awesome color saturation, incredible depth and very fine details.

Depth: Depth of field is quite tremendous here as there’s a lot of good pushback and Tykwer’s film has a scale that is rather large in appearance for this little film. This flick is full of rapid edits, camera pans and character motion and it handles it so smoothly and confidently, there are no issues with motion distortions like blur or jitter.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural and really pull of some impressive shadow work and does good contrasting to help bring out some of the beauty in the colors on display. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are gorgeous and the intent is to throw them in to contrast with the regular and pop. Lola’s hair radiates, yet has wonderful different tints and shades to it. Reds, yellows and greens really burst the best. Filtering, especially in the bedroom scenes looks more restrained and defined than ever before. HDR helps to bolster some of the animation, display signs and more with a bit more glow to the eye.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the romp. Facial features and textures like stubble, sweat, wrinkles, blemishes, moles, scarring and more come through clear and as day.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

Audio

Audio Format(s): German 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: Carrying over from the previous Blu-ray is the 5.1 track which is absolutely tasty. This is loud and really gives the music/score for the film such presence to be a character on its on. With the really nice clock ticking attributes sitting as an effect all its own. You also get some wonderful sound effects that play around the room with good impact. Its loud its free and and its fun when you listen to the sounds of Run Lola Run.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: The subwoofer hits on the bass and drums in the score with good punch but also pounds with glass shattering, dog barks, crashes, car honks and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The room is well capture here for a nice 360 degree presence in your viewing space. Sound travel comes with some good power. There are a lot of fun contributions from the rear channels to keep you on your toes as well as some terrific ambiance supplied, capturing off screen activity with impressive accuracy.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

Run Lola Run 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray comes only as a part of the Sony Pictures Classics: 30th Anniversary Collection.

Audio Commentary

  • with Director Tom Tykwer and Editor Mathilde Bonnefoy – New for this release.
  • with Director Tom Tykwer and Actor Franka Potente

Making-Of (HD, 39:30)

Still Running (HD, 16:58)

“Believe” Music Video (HD, 4:01)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:29)

Summary

Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt) is a must have for me every time it jumps to a new format. Even today, the film still is frenetic and fresh and a ton of fun. Its update to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray in nothing but impressive as it looks like never before in many areas and has a pristine transfer that handles a lot of video aesthetics. Extras carry over more than before and add a new commentary to it all. Currently its only part of the Sony Pictures Classics: 30th Anniversary Collection set and is one of the most enticing entries in it.

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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