The Robber Reviews

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blkbomb
Super Reviewer
June 27, 2012
Johann: This is a hold up, let's go.

The Robber may sound like a standard bank robbery/action film from the title and the plot summary, but it is anything but that. For the most part, this is an extremely quiet and slow moving Austrian film. A lot of the runtime is filled watching Johann do different things. He may be training, he may be sitting, he may be "talking" with someone. The film isn't the exciting adrenaline rush you may think it is.†

The Robber follows Johann who is recently released from prison where he was for trying to rob a bank. He's also a runner. He was training the whole time he was in prison. When he gets out, he does marathons and he robs banks. There are some good chase sequences, but they aren't what I'd call "exciting" or "pulse pounding."†

Johann actually quite a boring character. He barely speaks, and when he does it is very dull. Since Johann is our character, who the whole movie is based around; the movie comes off as dull because of that. Now I don't want you to get to much of a wrong impression. The film is pretty well made. It's smart and the ending is extremely well done. I just can't get over the fact that the movie was really, really dull. I was bored basically the whole movie. There are interesting parts, like the chases and like the robberies; but in between is boredom. The relationship between Johann and Erika is poorly done. Erika is also nearly as dull as Johann.†

This is a decent little film that should have been lightyears better. It could and should have been great, but it wasted a lot of its potential. I'm not saying I needed it to be a standard action film, but if you're not going for action, go for something. Nothing is explored here all that much. It's lacking in plot, character, and just about everything else. Yet, it has a watchability factor to it and it is well made, technically speaking. I guess I'm trying to say it is okay, but still a disappointment.
LorenzoVonMatterhorn
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2012
"I love you, Hans."

Tells the true story of Johann Rettenberger, a marathon athlete who developed robbing banks as a hobby.

REVIEW
Johann is neither a likable person nor is a crazed criminal psychopath which leads the viewer to a unusual predicament in that you start to almost barrack for him. He never hurts anyone, just robs banks and in the interim goes running in marathons. In his face mask and plain clothes, he doesn't even look like he'd hurt a fly. Of course things turn nasty and caught up in the picture is a woman Erika, she, like the audience as events get worse are left with the moral dilemma of choosing an outcome for Johann. Should he get away with it or be caught and serve time? Johann himself never really expresses any real emotion so there is little to understand why he should do what he does, but this adds to the film as it gives the audience more intrigue without throwing in too many questions.

Stylishly the film looks great, some beautiful scenery during one of the marathons are great. And then there are the running sequences, Johann runs a lot, to bank robberies, from robberies and then just for the hell of it. Director Benjamin Heisenberg uses some great camera work to follow Johann on these runs and in one sequence when he is chased by a cop car through a car park, the editing is effective enough to create a tense exciting sequence. The films ends with quietly, in some ways rather sadly, but others may find it a little too predictable. However the film is a great piece of work that makes the audience question itself and it's attitude towards others.
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.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2011
Equal parts exhilirating and depressing, 'The Robber' is a masterpiece among criminal character studies. I really do think this a a brilliant film.
Super Reviewer
April 6, 2011
Very good crime thriller. The Robber is inspired by the life of Austrian bank-robber and runner Johann Kastenberger, a man who set records in long-distance races while - in the rest of his free time - secretly knocked over bank after bank. Widely referred to as "Pump-gun Ronnie," after the Ronald Reagan mask he wore and the shotgun used on the assaults, The Robber is nicely directed and solidly acted. The main character wasn't at all likeable, but at the same time I still wanted him to get out of dodge. Recommended.
½ February 15, 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.
July 2, 2014
gritty austrian heist flick.
January 26, 2014
New York Film Festival critically acclaimed
½ February 1, 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.
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.
Hal
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.
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.
½ September 5, 2012
The Robber (Ršuber) German/Swedish film directed by Benjamin Heisenberg. Film is based on a novel by the Austrian author Martin Prinz. It is based on Austrian bank-robber and runner Johann Kastenberger.

It is the story of a man (Andreas Lust) who is a great runner and he's a marathon contender. He robs banks and then runs away from the scene of the crime flawlessly.

There is no other story attached to this, thoroughly successful robbery after robbery, and quick and smooth escape from police. Cinematography is excellent, especially in the jungles at near-climax. I don't see it worth recommending, but if you churn out your purpose from the short plot, you might definitely wanna check this out.
May 29, 2012
Um atleta com um part-time de assaltante ou um assaltante com uma √ (C)tica de atleta da maratona? √ essa a quest√£o que atravessa este thriller austr√≠aco que, sem ser um festim de ideias ou frescura, consegue estabelecer uma rela√ß√£o de alta empatia com o protagonista e ter duas ou tr√™s cenas de persegui√ß√£o que d√° para sentir no est√īmago. Isso √ (C) fant√°stico, quando a maioria dos thrillers actuais n√£o ultrapassam a pele. "The Robber" exige alguma paci√™ncia, mas √ (C) um exerc√≠cio corajoso que deixa a sua marca, no final. 3/5
½ January 11, 2012
A fine movie about really, really focused OCD and the impact that singular compulsion has as it becomes more intense.
½ December 4, 2011
Quite boring compared to the Bourne Supremacy. No real story here and the so-called "chase" scenes are pathetic. Skip it.
November 25, 2011
Based on real life events, this is the fascinating story of an unconventional and daring bank robber in Austria. Marathon runner Johann Rettenberger (played by Andreas Lust) uses his extreme discipline and conditioning to pull off some amazing bank robberies. The film is well acted and directed with precision. Not for everyone. if you like that European film feel, you will be at home. If you are looking for a hollywood type action flick, this is not it.
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