Berlin & Beyond Film Festival 2010: The Robber – Review and Trailer

I think we’re all guilty of hyping or dismissing movies in our heads.  The conclusion we reach beforehand becomes the pivot to our criticism.  In that sense, I wasn’t prepared for The Robber – a thriller based on on the novel “On The Run” by Austrian author Martin Prinz. When I heard about a film that focused on a marathon runner who robbed banks on the side (or was it the other way around?) I expected a more comical, light-hearted approach to such a scenario. Instead, what transpired before my eyes was a beautifully intense and hypnotic story about a man faced with reforming himself or returning to his previous destructive tendencies.

The Robber focuses on Johann Rettenberger (Andreas Lust,) an ex-con released to the free world in hopes to start an honest life. We don’t learn much about Johann through dialogue (or any of the other characters for that matter,) and it’s hard to love or hate him. On one hand, he’s this hero marathon runner who wins many big, countrywide races; on the other hand, he is a successful serial bank robber – threatening but never hurting anyone. He is easily one of the most complex and interesting characters I’ve witnessed in cinema this year.

A love interest, Erika (Franziska Weisz) throws an extra layer of intricacy into the story with a relationship that unfolds in a complex manner such as Johann’s character. To try and explain the strangely unconditional romance would do it a disservice and ruin the sense of awe and mystery wrapped up in these two interesting characters.

I can’t begin to explain the beauty of the shots in The Robber. The composition between sprawling vistas and intense human emotion evoked within each wonderful scene is breathtaking. I am literally at a loss for words when it comes to describing this film. It is nothing like I expected and I am so grateful for that. It is a tragic tale of addiction and conflict within the soul. While you won’t walk away feeling happy per se, you will walk away fulfilled and awestruck. I believe Benjamin Heisenberg has truly created a work of art with The Robber.

Showtimes for The Robber:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010 8:00pm @ The Castro

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