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The Robber

(Der Räuber)

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Director
Benjamin Heisenberg
Country of origin and year
Germany/Austria 2010
Duration
101 minutes
Certificate
Rated 15 - Contains strong sex and violence
Cast
Cast: Andreas Lust, Franziska Weisz, Florian Wotruba, Johann Bednar, Markus Schleinzer.

German with English subtitles

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Filmhouse’s third release as distributor is a tense, kinetic thriller based on Martin Prinz’s novel about real-life 80s Austrian criminal sensation ‘Pump-gun Ronnie’ (named after his weapon of choice and his Reagan mask). Doing a ‘bank job’ immediately on his release from prison, it’s clear Johann Rettenberger’s stint in jail hasn’t had the effect the authorities had hoped for. A chance encounter with Erika, an old family friend who works at the job centre he is forced to attend as a condition of his parole, hints at possible redemption… Heisenberg (and Prinz) resists the temptation to offer much in the way of psychological explanation or background for Johann’s chosen way of life, as if sensing that to put too much of a personality into a character who really had existed would be pointless conjecture in any case. Rather, it’s the sheer movement and restless energy captured here that really sets the film apart – the prolonged sequence inserting our man into the Vienna Marathon is little short of remarkable, and the closing reel is a masterclass in sustained tension. And Andreas Lust’s committed performance, in terms of pure physical preparation, would give De Niro a run for his money.

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