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Monday, June 20, 2005

Run Lola Run

So, last night I watched a German movie called Run Lola Run from 1999 starring Franka Potente (who was with Matt Damon in the Bourne movies). It's a clever film about how the outcome of one's life can often depend on the minor details.

The plot is simple. Lola gets a panicked phone call from her boyfriend, Manni, who says he's going to die in 20 minutes unless he comes up with 100,000 deutsche marks. It turns out he was supposed to deliver the money to a gangster promptly at noon, but on his way to the meeting point, he'd been scared off the subway by the sight of two police officers. In his fright, he left the bag of cash on the train where it was purloined by a homeless man. Now Manni is convinced that the bad guy will suspect him of stealing the money and will certainly kill him unless Lola can help him. His other option, he figures, would be to rob a bank before 12 o'clock. The rest of the film shows Lola frantically running from one point in the city to another to come up with the cash Manni needs.

What makes this interesting is that the film tells the story three times with three very different outcomes, all depending on the smallest of details. It's very creative, edited like a rock video, and surprisingly entertaining.

Another film that covers the same motif is Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. Two stories are told with the same characters and the same setup, but one detail early on totally changes the way things unfold.

It reminds me of a science fiction short story I read a long time ago (Asimov?) about a man who invents time travel and goes back to the age of the dinosaurs. While there, he accidentally kills a single insect, but that minor incident alters all of human history. I don't buy the evolutionary premise, but the idea is intriguing.

For instance, in college I used to go on Monday nights to sing hymns and read scriptures at a local nursing home. One night, a friend of a friend was visiting from out of state. If I'd missed going just that one time, I might never have met my wife, my son would never have been born and who knows how many other things would be different?

In our Gospel reading yesterday, from Matthew 10, Jesus told His disciples that their Heavenly Father governs the life of every sparrow and has numbered the very hairs on their heads. It's comforting to know that our benevolent God has the details in control.

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Anonymous said...

I think the dinosaur story you alluded to was actually by Bradbury, but it's been a while...Man, the collection I saw it in is on the tip of my tongue...Jerry

Anonymous said...

Yes! I double-checked Amazon and that dinosaur story is in "R is for Rocket". Okay, now to see if Maple has crunched that equation yet...(grumble) Jerry

Andrew said...

Another popular movie that comes to mind with that theme of altering one thing is Groudhog's Day. I'm sure most have seen it. Bill Murray can't get passed one day without doing everything perfectly.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hey Jerry,
Yeah! Ray Bradbury. Now I remember. Thanks.

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Yes, how could I possibly have forgotten Groundhog Day? I love Bill Murray.

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