October 25, 2010

Citizen's Arrest: Catch The Robber 10/27 @ the Walker

A bank, a mask, and a bag - your typical afternoon jog? 

How many great Austrian crime thrillers about brooding bank robbers who find solace in the forest and romance busty brunettes can there be? Apparently more than one. Götz Spielmann's Revanche received an Oscar nomination two years ago and Benjamin Heisenberg's Der Räuber (The Robber) is nearly as good, losing a little novelty because it's such a similar story (both films also star Andreas Lust as main characters who jog on woodsy trails). But while the films may be similar on screen, only one of them is based on a true story: the one about the competitive marathon runner who makes a living as a notorious bank robber.

It can prove to be a clever strategy, fleeing on foot, so long as you have the endurance to beat whomever is chasing you. For Johannes Rettenberger, who became an Austrian media sensation in the 1980's, it wasn't enough to be chased on a track by athletes - he had to be chased all the time (what better occupation than bank robber?), haunted by an invisible enemy, or charged up by a Forrest Gump-like runner's high.
The Robber is not a movie about running and robbing, though, so much as it's a movie about, to use a phrase made famous by Bono, "running to stand still". Rettenberger was a desperate soul, an enigma, the kind of real life figure that you have to write a novel about (Martin Prinz', on which this film is based). As illustrated in The Robber, the duffel bags full of cash Rettenberger collected were bait, their real-world value secondary to their practical value: reason for Rettenberger to run, and, in running, reason for him to live.

Director Martin Heisenberg will introduce The Robber before it screens this Wed., Oct. 27, at 7:30 pm in the Walker Cinema


  1. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see this one myself, but most of the people I talked to during the Chicago International Film Festival praised it as one of the fest's highlights.

  2. Hey Danny - this is a buzzworthy film, for sure. Not perfect, but so intriguing as a character study (and real life story) that you can't help but think and talk about it afterward.


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