Video Picks Archive
This week my picks are Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) (1998 - ) and Sliding Doors (1998 - ).
The first film was one of the most popular foreign films last
year, starting with its Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Franka Potente plays Lola, a young German woman whose boyfriend,
Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), owes a gangster 100,000 marks. She
has twenty minutes to get it to him, or he will attempt robbing
a supermarket to avoid getting killed. Those twenty minutes
elapse in real time, as Lola runs through the streets of
Berlin in desperation. What makes this film so fascinating is
not the intense pace, but how after those twenty minutes, the
film resets, and Lola runs again. Small changes in the action
effect different destinies for Lola, Manni, and everybody they
encounter -- then it happens again. Run Lola Run
represents a new, MTV-inspired German cinema that blows away
most action films from Hollywood and Hong Kong.
A few months earlier, the second film used the same concept, but at a much more leisurely pace; it is British, after all. Gwyneth Paltrow plays a woman named Helen, who has a life-altering moment at a train station. Two versions of her life are shown in parallel: one where she catches a train and finds her boyfriend (John Lynch) in bed with another woman, and another where she misses it and arrives late, after the other woman has gone. Paltrow is absolutely wonderful in what amounts to a double role, but her follow-up performance in Shakespeare in Love would overshadow it. This film is definitely a must-see, not only for Paltrow, but for John Hannah, who plays her new and improved boyfriend after she dumps Lynch in the first scenario. Sliding Doors slipped through the cracks at the U.S. box office, but it has finally been appreciated on video.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
Lola rennt (1998)
Sliding Doors (1998)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan