RUN, LOLA, RUN (R) (76 min.) _ German films typically aren't as playful as Tom Tykwer's Run, Lola, Run, a movie that opens at full throttle and rarely slows down for conventional measures. It's a caper flick times three, the number of times that Tykwer revisits a 20-minute crisis in the lives of Lola (Franka Potente) and her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bliebtreu), set to a relentless techno-pop beat.
The outline of each version of events remains the same: Lola gets a frantic telephone call from Manni, who was supposed to deliver 100,000 deutsche marks to the mastermind of an illegal deal. However, Manni got careless and left the cash on the subway.
If Manni doesn't have the money in 20 minutes, he'll be killed. Lola races through Berlin streets to her father's office to ask for a loan while Manni considers a grocery store robbery to save his skin.
Each time Tykwer rewinds the narrative and starts again, little things occur that alter the timing of the previous version. People who encounter Lola while she's running for two lives have variable futures, depending on what happens in the encores. Scant seconds make all the difference in their lives, an exciting premise that Tykwer makes his own celluloid toy.
Tykwer uses snapshot chronologies to show the shrinking chasm between fate and fortune; a bag lady knocked down by Lola becomes bitter and dies tragically, with years compressed into scant seconds of clicking camera frames. The next two times, Lola misses the bag lady by wider margins, and their rapid-fire futures change for the better. Coincidence defines characters. Afterward, viewers likely will pay more attention to the what-ifs of our own daily experiences.
Run, Lola, Run is essentially a stunt rather than a completely satisfying film, but it's a delightful sleight-of-hand exercise. Potente and Bliebtreu make an appealing, punk Bonnie and Clyde duo with the vague sheen of cult icons-to-be.
The genuine stars of the movie, though, are Mathilde Bonnefoy's whiplash editing and the narrative acrobatics Tykwer devises, including the use of animation when live action isn't enough. The story is slim, the presentation is sleek and Tykwer's extra effort to do something different with the film medium is gratefully noted.
Opens today at Tampa Theatre and Beach Theater. German with English subtitles. B+
STOP MAKING SENSE (Not rated, probably PG) (88 min.) _ The discussion of great rock 'n' roll concert movies begins and ends with three titles: Woodstock, The Last Waltz, and Jonathan Demme's cinematic preservation of the Talking Heads' 1984 tour, Stop Making Sense.
In honor of the tour's 15th anniversary, this absorbing documentary has been digitally remastered and given a 35mm makeover. The songs and the excitement remain the same.
There haven't been too many performers with the singular style and awkward grace of David Byrne. Demme wisely devoted his camera lens mostly to Byrne's loose-limbed presence, with perfunctory glances toward his Talking Heads bandmates. Demme carefully avoided the cliches of the genre; no audience reaction shots until they have meaning, and no backstage eavesdropping. Just the music, and what thrilling music it is.
Showing tonight and Saturday at 10 p.m. at Tampa Theatre. A