Has there ever been a more straightforward plot? Lola (a flame-haired Franka Potente) has 20 minutes to find 100,000 Deutsche Mark (about £33,670 back in 1998) to save her boyfriend’s life. That’s it. Yet director Tom Tykwer (Perfume) takes this core premise and from it creates a film so startlingly original and entertaining its a wonder Hollywood has yet to fully embrace his unique style. Employing all manner of cinematic devices, from splitscreen to monochrome, converting our heroine into animated form and revealing the lives of very minor characters in Polaroid form, the film moves at such a breakneck speed yet remains easy to follow and only occasionally exasperating. The nightclub soundtrack may fit the relentless pace but is a little headache inducing at times, as are the jarring changes in pace, from running full tilt to pontificating pillow talk on the nature of love, but with ideas this fresh even 13 years after its release, these flaws can be forgiven.
Back in 2002, the espionage genre must have felt a little like Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne at the start of this trilogy, floating unconscious in the Mediterranean Sea with a bullet in the back after the abysmal CGI tsunami of Die Another Day and the shallow, clichéd hotchpotch of Mission Impossible 2, although they may have envied Bourne’s lack of memory. Thank the heavens then for the metaphorical fishing vessel of star Damon, director Doug Liman and writer Tony Gilroy for bringing this energetic affair to the screen, both setting up Damon as a bona fide action star and throwing the gauntlet at the feet of Bond and Ethan Hunt to step it up a gear (both of whom willingly accepting the challenge with Casino Royale’s gritty realism and MI3’s intelligent action).