Lola rennt is just another example of success in film-making, which results from the script-writer, director and the music director being the same person. That’s right, Tom Tykwer. Although this movie has ample elements of fantasy and fairy-tale twists, it basically dwells in the realm of metaphysical questions of our existence and fate, and thus, also to see if we can change our fate or not.
The scenes revolve in this trivial set of events that lead to the final result, as Lola runs to accomplish her mission in 20min. Here, the distance between her boyfriend Manni and the 100,000marks is only an excuse that triggers Lola to traverse through a set of seemingly unimportant events, which evidently take shape as defining factors, as Lola plunges into these same chain-of-events for the first, second and third time.
Like a theoretical physicist, Tykwer explores three possibilities of an uncertain future to any given, existing problem of Life. Here, the problem being as ultimate as Death. In a way, he also brings Death closer to show how Life is interconnected to Death only by a set of events. Through Lola’s running, he seems to shorten the span of time connecting Life and the inevitability of Death. Tykwer seems to stress on that in the first of the 3 possibilities, by giving clippings of what (death) will happen to the woman who simply passes by at Lola's father's office.
Surprisingly, the only factor that doesn’t seem to change is Lola’s mother, who keeps on being a telephonic philanderer with astrological obsessions, all throughout the three possibilities. Perhaps, her mentioning of the zodiac sign Sagittarius has something to do with running after any goal/challenge at hand. Tykwer probably wants to catch the film observer’s attention by implying that you can either go about your desired goal blindly, or knowingly, in which case you are more likely to succeed. In the three episodic possibilities, the protagonist (Lola) seems to get more and more conscious of trivial events as deciding factors. Her consciousness reaches an almost supernatural, semi-god height, each time she traverses the same path. This is noted by her ability to break glasses by screaming; each time, her power to do that increases. Her ability to scream and break glasses seems linearly proportional to her being able to control the situation.
As Lola transits from the first to the second chance, and from the second to the third, the events around her take the shape of a space-time warp, that gets more and more spiral, thus setting her free from the circle that seems to somehow bind her to her fate. Visual references to that are seen in the restaurant sign through the glass of the phone booth Manni called from, and also as the receiver and chord went spiraling as Lola keeps her receiver to start running.
There’s also a bit of off-the-hook soul-searching that goes on after Lola dies and after Manni dies, igniting honest and insightful questions in our mind about human relationships. These scenes, just like the tripartite movie itself, tell of other possibilities that are considered in human relationships. The element of uncertainty seems to be recurring.
Another factor that is defined from the very beginning is Lola’s father. That he is not going to help her is fixed, unchangeable. So is the cursing of the woman with the baby: she curses Lola all the three times even though Lola consciously keeps herself from falling onto her the third time.
All the other characters seem to be oblivious of Lola’s journey in the three possibilities, except for the guard at her father’s bank, who greets her as “princess Lola” and seems to almost know that she can make it, in this life or the next.
During the first episode of Lola running, Tykwer probably takes few conscious shots of camera moving in the opposite direction to her running, giving us visual clues of her not succeeding. Likewise, there are plenty of changes that occur in the last episode, especially that of the bicyclist finding the ragged-old man with Manni’s bag of money, and to satisfy it all, Manni getting back his bag from him, may account for Lola starting to believe in omens, and in signs that tell her of the possible outcome. This can be accounted for in the background oriental music in the film as well.
Strangely, we also see that Manni behaved as if nothing happened after Lola came on time with the sum of money after exhausting so much of her determination and will. To have done all that, and gaining new awareness into what keeps time and space ticking, not get as much as an acknowledgement from Manni, sets her wondering quizzically about rhymes and reasons. And there it all ends, as the camera freezes and cuts of in a close-shot of Manni, as Lola doesnt disclose the contents of her bag.