The Robber (Der Rauber) directed by Benjamin Heisenberg and adapted from a novel by Martin Prinz is an “inspired by true events” tale of a long distance runner with a penchant for robbing banks. It is also a story of risk, solitude and why you should never trust a woman.
The arthouse thriller tells the story of a multi-talented man: Johann Rettenberger (Andreas Lust) a successful marathon runner and a serial bank robber. Along the way he reconnects with a woman from his past, Erika (Franziska Weisz), and is occasionally bothered by an over zealous parole officer.
Rettenberger is written with all the charisma of a coma patient; you never really see beyond his mask. The love interest Erika (the German for plot device) serves only to remind you that if you have sex or emotions bad things will happen and unnecessary deaths and betrayals simply mark time until the next wonderful
running sequence: this is when the movie works best. A brilliant double heist and chase scene through the streets of Vienna is a real highlight, and a highly tense night sequence through a forest another.
But overall Rettenberger is a character addicted to risk and it would have been a better film had the director (Heisenberg) taken a few more. Andreas Lust is good as the running corpse, if hampered by the 2-D characterization, and it’s refreshing to see an unglamourised woman (Franziska Weisz) play the love interest.
The film has flourishes of brilliance, just not enough of them: you expect a movie about a marathon-running bank robber to leave you breathless, instead it just leaves you a little bit knackered.