THE ROBBER – The Review
The stoic, determined , enigmatic loner has been the subject of many thrillers and action films. On either side of the the law, the single-minded protagonist has been a fixture in cinema perhaps best exemplified in the sixties and seventies movies of actors such as Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson. In the new film THE ROBBER we get to see a character based on a real person from the Austrian director Benjamin Heisenberg.
We first observe Johann Rettenberger ( Andreas Lust ) running in circles around a small patch of grass. Soon we learn that he is in prison. Taking up most of the space in his small cell is a electric treadmill, which he immediately puts to use. Johann meets with his parole officer prior to his imminent release. Thr officer wants to make sure that he has a plan for the outside and does not become part of another bank robbing gang. Johann tells the man what he wants to hear. After his release he rents a tiny, dreary apartment close to the train station. He then goes to a job placement center and re-connects with a counselor Erika ( Franziska Weisz ). The talk a bit about his old gang. Soon Johann is back robbing banks, but this time he goes solo. He also continues his running regimin and enters a marathon race. Visiting Erika in the spawling apartment she had shared with her late mother, Johann is invited to live there in one of the empty bedrooms. The roommates soon become lovers as his crime spree continues. Can he keep his criminal activites a secret from her? And when will the authorities catch up?
THE ROBBER is a fairly simple story told with a great deal of energy by Heisenberg. You can almost feel the adrenaline rush doing the hold up sequences perhaps more than in THE TOWN since Johann has no partners. One robbery goes terribly wrong and Johannn must abandon his stolen car and flee on foot. This is a wonderfully suspenseful bit of editing and camerawork as he dashes through buildings with no idea where the exit doors are located. In another great chase scene he bolts out of a police station and eludes his pursuers in the dark streets. Lust portrays him as a mystery. We don’t understand why he makes no attempt at living a normal life. Is he addicted to the danger? There’s no back story that explains his behavior. Erika tries to break through his tough demeanor with no success. THE ROBBER is a tense, taut, little thrill ride that is an interesting European spin on the American crime noir classics.
Overall Rating: Four Out of Five Stars