What are the themes in Run Lola Run?

One could argue that one of the main themes of Run Lola Run is that actions have consequences. Lola realizes early on that the theft of her moped has set in chain a sequence of events that could, within a very short period of time, end in the death of her boyfriend, Manni.

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On the face of it, it seems that Lola and Manni inhabit a world in which there is no order and stability, no right and wrong, no real moral purpose. The disjointed narrative and innovative style of the film reinforce this original impression.

That being the case, Lola and Manni...

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On the face of it, it seems that Lola and Manni inhabit a world in which there is no order and stability, no right and wrong, no real moral purpose. The disjointed narrative and innovative style of the film reinforce this original impression.

That being the case, Lola and Manni appear like a couple of puppets being jerked here and there on a string, pure victims of circumstance. This especially applies to Manni as he’s the one who’s been kidnapped by a gang of criminals.

Yet beneath the chaotic surface, there’s a semblance of order. Actions have consequences, as Lola soon discovers for herself. The theft of her moped acts as a catalyst for a series of events that give content and shape to the narrative, even though this narrative is being told in a highly innovative, experimental manner. It’s as if we as the audience are being invited to ignore the film’s surface—which is easier said than done—and pay attention to the substance beneath. And that substance has a certain moral order to it.

Neither Lola nor Manni may be responsible for the theft of Lola’s moped, but their avoidance of responsibility has led them nowhere in life. From now on, only responsible actions are at all adequate to deal with the situation that Lola finds herself in. Only then is it likely that just consequences will follow.

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Run Lola Run is a great film. It's an interesting film because audiences essentially see the same movie three times in a row. Small changes occur here and there in each of Lola's attempts to rescue her boyfriend, and those small changes are related to a couple of themes. One theme is related to Edward Lorenz's famous "Butterfly Effect." Lorenz said it's possible that a single flap of a butterfly wing could change an entire weather pattern. In a similar way, Lola's run is changed ever so slightly from run to run and the results are drastically different each time. This film shows how even the slightest interactions with things and people can greatly affect them in time. Another theme is perseverance. Lola simply refuses to give up on saving her boyfriend. She carries on while injured, and even decides to run again after one of her runs gets her shot. The reason that Lola doesn't give up on Manni is due to her love and loyalty to him and the family unit that they are. All three of those things are thematic components of the movie as well.

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One theme seen in the film is that of loyalty. Lola's desperation and determination are a product of the loyalty she feels toward her lover and her desire to save his life. The frenetic pacing of the film conveyed in the cinematography and the sound design, as well as the emphasis on time and speed, underscore the passionate loyalty she feels for someone whose life is in danger and whom she alone is in a position to save. Life and death are literally the stakes represented here. The high stress levels due to the time limit imposed on her task intensify the film's emotional mood and tone. The color red, seen in her bright shock of hair, creates a visual reference to the depth of emotion present, as red is associated with the emotions of love, passion, anger, and contexts like danger. The high level of stress Lola is caught up in exacerbates other emotions also: We see Lola's deep loyalty is connected to her sense of empathy and compassion when she chooses to help others for brief moments as she proceeds on her run. We also see moments of impatience and anger reflected in Lola's frustration with various delays and impediments. All of these emotions are connected to the loyalty that drives her actions and are the basis for the film's central narrative.

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One of the most dominant themes in the film is the idea of free will and determinism.  In seeing Lola's predicament in three different sequences as the result of choices made, one is left to wonder if there is an external design or if the choices made and the consequences determined are the results of individual choice.  The question of what elements cannot be destroyed and what elements lie outside of the realm of choice.  Another theme is the "Butterfly Effect" idea in which actions that might not necessarily seemed related to one another end up having great connection to one another.  For example, in each run, Lola treats the punk on the staircase with the dog differently.  Either being growled at by the dog, jumping over the punk, or being tripped all have different outcomes on the end result of Lola's story.  The theme here is how events that might not seem interconnected are actually bound to one another.  For example, in being growled at by the dog, Lola runs faster, causing other elements in the sequence to happen at different times than in the other two runs.

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