The Robber - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Robber Reviews

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March 24, 2016
Great portrait of a criminal.
½ October 9, 2015
A marathon runner who also robs banks is released from jail and immediately returns to a life of crime. He obsessively pursues both interests to the point of destroying his life. This film gives you so little background information on its subject that it essentially becomes a character study of a character with very few dimensions to him. It's an interesting enough film for what it is, but it's somewhat hampered by it's excessively narrow focus.
½ July 6, 2015
Excellent film based on Johann Rettenberger, the real life Austrian runner who was a bank robber.
December 18, 2014
A bit plain, average overall.
July 2, 2014
gritty austrian heist flick.
January 26, 2014
New York Film Festival critically acclaimed
½ December 22, 2013
"Calvin Wilson" well said about this film:
"The Robber" is artfully done but emotionally remote."
November 11, 2013
For some reason this movie engaged at a certain point despite the lack of depth and dialogue from the main character.
½ October 17, 2013
Adapted from Dennis Prinz's novel, which is based on real events, "The Robber" has all the elements of a penetrating character study. Unfortunately, director Martin Heisenberg doesn't always use those elements to his advantage. The story is about Johann Rettenberger, an Austrian bandit/marathoner known as "Pump-gun Ronnie." Heisenberg takes a muted, non-psychological approach to his story, and without much in the way of emotional engagement, keeping viewers engaged is certainly more challenging than need be.

Andreas Lust stars as Johann Rettenberger, a serial bank robber who has spent a six-year bid in prison training as a long-distance runner. After being released from prison, Johann runs into Erika (Franziska Weisz) at the Job Center which helps ex-cons find work. The dialogue makes it clear they've met before, but the narrative annoyingly withholds any connection to their past. Why is the beautiful, well-to-do Erika so drawn to this emotionally distant career criminal?

Ultimately, Johann returns to Vienna and combines his two true passions and what he knows best -- running and knocking over banks. His dominance on the marathon circuit gets him noticed, as does his daylight bank heists. Notoriously referred to as "Pump-gun Ronnie," after the Ronald Reagan mask he wears and the shotgun he brandishes. To this day, Rettenberger still holds the record time in the Bergmarathon, a world-famous marathon held in the Austrian Alps.

Frustratingly, we never really get a sense of who Johann is or what motivates him. He is expressionless, cold-hearted, and remains distant throughout. Heisenberg's treatment vividly communicates Rettenberger's neurotic defiance and destructive behavior, but that's no substitute for enabling the viewer to become invested in the character's fate. Johann does not let people into his life, and is a blank cipher as to why he leads the life of a bank robber. It is clearly not the money. Maybe it's the rush he gets, or maybe it is an unexplained obsession. The filmmaker leaves it for the viewer to decide. Although Heisenberg tries to suggest the robberies provide Johann with an adrenaline rush similar to that he experiences while running marathons, the character fails to show any sense of pleasure or catharsis that would make this parallel interesting.

Technical aspects of the film are highly impressive, and the incorporation of Johann into actual Vienna Marathon provides a real sense of authenticity. As a matter of execution, the film's last act is undeniably thrilling. Exceptional work by steadicam operator Matthias Biber gives all the chases and action sequences a visceral energy. "The Robber" could have been a great representation of compulsive behavior. As is, it is a rigid film that is technically sound with a fascinating lead protagonist we still know nothing about.
½ October 17, 2013
Adapted from Dennis Prinz's novel, which is based on real events, "The Robber" has all the elements of a penetrating character study. Unfortunately, director Martin Heisenberg doesn't always use those elements to his advantage. The story is about Johann Rettenberger, an Austrian bandit/marathoner known as "Pump-gun Ronnie." Heisenberg takes a muted, non-psychological approach to his story, and without much in the way of emotional engagement, keeping viewers engaged is certainly more challenging than need be.

Andreas Lust stars as Johann Rettenberger, a serial bank robber who has spent a six-year bid in prison training as a long-distance runner. After being released from prison, Johann runs into Erika (Franziska Weisz) at the Job Center which helps ex-cons find work. The dialogue makes it clear they've met before, but the narrative annoyingly withholds any connection to their past. Why is the beautiful, well-to-do Erika so drawn to this emotionally distant career criminal?

Ultimately, Johann returns to Vienna and combines his two true passions and what he knows best -- running and knocking over banks. His dominance on the marathon circuit gets him noticed, as does his daylight bank heists. Notoriously referred to as "Pump-gun Ronnie," after the Ronald Reagan mask he wears and the shotgun he brandishes. To this day, Rettenberger still holds the record time in the Bergmarathon, a world-famous marathon held in the Austrian Alps.

Frustratingly, we never really get a sense of who Johann is or what motivates him. He is expressionless, cold-hearted, and remains distant throughout. Heisenberg's treatment vividly communicates Rettenberger's neurotic defiance and destructive behavior, but that's no substitute for enabling the viewer to become invested in the character's fate. Johann does not let people into his life, and is a blank cipher as to why he leads the life of a bank robber. It is clearly not the money. Maybe it's the rush he gets, or maybe it is an unexplained obsession. The filmmaker leaves it for the viewer to decide. Although Heisenberg tries to suggest the robberies provide Johann with an adrenaline rush similar to that he experiences while running marathons, the character fails to show any sense of pleasure or catharsis that would make this parallel interesting.

Technical aspects of the film are highly impressive, and the incorporation of Johann into actual Vienna Marathon provides a real sense of authenticity. As a matter of execution, the film's last act is undeniably thrilling. Exceptional work by steadicam operator Matthias Biber gives all the chases and action sequences a visceral energy. "The Robber" could have been a great representation of compulsive behavior. As is, it is a rigid film that is technically sound with a fascinating lead protagonist we still know nothing about.
williamhunt2
Super Reviewer
½ October 3, 2013
Incredible! Reminds a lot of Robert Bresson.
½ September 11, 2013
This film is based on a story where we meet a very good jogger that also likes to rob banks every now and then. The story is based on real events and that's quite fascinating. The main actor does a good job and there are some very well made scenes here. I truly enjoyed this film - the pace is good, the story is there and it does not flatten out. Little dialogue but richer in thrilling moments and chasing action. A quite unknown film that deserves more recognition. For me it's a mixture of "Revanche", "Hodejegerne" and dosens of robbing flicks - a unique and pleasing film.

7.5 out of 10 bill stacks.
May 19, 2013
It's really amazing this is based on a true story. It's almost implausible that this occurred.
½ March 24, 2013
Well this had some great ideas only you don't give to sh!ts about the hero or anything else.
March 3, 2013
You would think a movie concept about a world class athlete turned bank robber would be interesting and result in an awesome action thriller, but sadly this movie isn't up to par. The main character Johann isn't likeable, and he doesn't even have a proper motivation for what he does. They don't play his bank robberies as an addiction and let him have an adrenaline rush, and he doesn't really need the money either. This understated amount of character development makes for a bland film, with some decent chase scenes here and there. Its not enough to engage audiences, and the film suffers as a result.
February 23, 2013
A monomaniacal marathon runner is also a cold-blooded serial bank robber. A gorgeous social worker falls for him (absurd but ...yes, it's true. A lot of girls go for Bad Boys). Lots of action, bu otherwise an unusually austere production. No more than a few dozen lines of dialogue are spoken throughout, mostlyby a parole officer who gets bonked in consequence! Lust is convincing but his character's psychology is left completely unexplored. As for Weiz, she's so beautiful, so talented, she's just plain underutilized here!
½ January 8, 2013
Shiruga kibung sumpat malakalimlin sirin. Garampiling pirat, sibulay sin tirambung kuraway siam sin tirat. Siri para kiram sin tiram tiram pori siray guramramlan. Four star and a half kirin siri sin sibarin.

The atmosphere is kind of tranquil, but the excitement it did me is enormous, especially towards the end. The actor is very good. One foreign film that will sure engage even a person who doesn't like the trouble of reading subtitles. Four and a half star from me.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2012
In "The Robber," Johann Rettenberger(Andreas Lust) is released from jail. Apparently he did not learn his lesson, because it takes him about eight minutes before he returns to his life of crime by stealing a car and robbing a bank. He might want to reconsider this when he earns about 15,000 euros in prize money by running so well in the Vienna Marathon. Even then, his parole officer(Markus Schleinzer) is less than impressed. Not so for Erika(Franziska Weisz), an old family friend who invites him to stay with her until he finds a place of his own.

At its best, "The Robber" is confirmation for people who think there is something seriously wrong with people who run in marathons.(The first guy who ran 26.2 miles died and everybody thinks it is a good idea?) In fact, Johann seems to be the poster child for compulsive behavior as he is either unable or unwilling to stop himself, just as some characters show how stupid they can be at times. But that is as far as we get into his head, as he remains frustratingly a cipher throughout the movie which just goes in circles.
November 15, 2012
This is an intrinsically interesting story, but the film is a little slow. Also, after watching the film, I googled to find out how much of it had been true. Turns out, the true story is even MORE interesting than the film story. Why change the truth to make it less interesting? You also got no insight whatsoever into the character, and it's hard to know if that had been a deliberate creative choice or just lazy film making. I think the movie would have been better if we were able to develop at least a little bit of understanding of or empathy for the main character. There are worse films out there, so this is worth watching, but I wouldn't rush out to watch it now.
½ November 4, 2012
This film is based upon the real life Johann Kastenberger, an accomplished marathon runner, and his infamous bank robberies. I'd say more than 50% of the content of this film is fact based. This is a well-directed film with interesting premises and potentials. However, it is essentially an empty film. The lead character is like a two-dimensional robot; unable to evoke any emotional reactions - I'm not sure how I should feel about him. He only speaks when he has to, and when he does, it's about things that don't help us see the depth of his character. Almost zero character development. By the end of the film, we don't know why he does what he does or why we should care. It feels bland and empty by the time the credits roll despite the fact that it's good film making.
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