The Robber / Der Räuber (GERMANY)
Friday June 11 @ 4.35pm
Sunday June 13 @ 9.15pm
Benjamin Heisenberg has based his glacially cool second feature on Michael Prinz’ novel about Austria’s notorious bank robber, ‘Pump-gun Ronnie’. Keeping dialogue and character exposition at a minimum, the film follows marathon runner Johann Rettenberger (Andreas Lust – Revanche) after his release from prison, for attempted armed robbery.
During his incarceration Rettenberger has kept to a rigorous training schedule, and upon his release into society, he intersperses his fitness regime with brief, cardio-vascularly-intensive bouts of bank robbery. Neither winning the prestigious and highly competitive Vienna Marathon or making away with hundreds of thousands of Euros ever seems to satisfy our protagonist, who continues to train, and rob banks (without ever spending the money). He begins an affair with an old acquaintance, who allows him to stay in her flat – until she realises what he is up to; even then, the prospect of losing the one friend or human connection he has, can’t divert him from his course.
While seducing you with its icy visuals, and keeping you hooked with Rettenberger’s increasingly extreme exploits, Heisenberg’s film is at heart a fascinating (and often chilling) case study: although ostensibly a specific tale about a real life ‘adrenaline junkie’, the film also feels as though it is pointing a finger at a broader pathology – whether it’s Germanic or purely athletic, I’m not sure. This probably won’t get a release, so see it at the festival. [DJ]