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Having developed a taste for the adrenaline that comes from the thrill of the chase, Austrian marathon runner Johann Rettenberger turns his disciplined mind and world-class athletic talents to a new hobby. He robs banks in broad daylight wearing a hood and a mask. How long can the quick thief keep outrunning the police? I have always wondered why the robbers in Hollywood films are able to outrun all of the cops so easily. Well, The Robber finally offers a reason to create a more believable story. The screenplay feels rather reserved and doesn't give much more than a peek into the life of Johann Rettenberger. The character is interesting, but I can't be immersed by a character who I know so little about. He clearly doesn't care very much about the money as he isn't shown spending any of it and simply stuffs it under his bed. Instead, he gets a personal thrill out of robbing banks and does it due to an obsession opposed to wanting more cash. I continued to wait for the lead character to have a clear character arc or some development, but none of that really happened. A lot more could have been done with this script.
Johann Rettenberger holds most of his thoughts in. He doesn't speak everything on his mind. Andreas Lust is certainly the strongest asset the film has, but comes off as a bit stone-faced at times. The performance isn't consistent from start to finish. The rest of the cast is monotone. None of them stand out and most of them feel quite emotionless. These performances knock down the atmosphere and makes the situations feel lifeless and deprived.
The most memorable component of The Robber is the photography. It's absolutely outstanding. The chase sequences in Hollywood blockbusters have become cliché and generic. This film restored my faith that strong chase scenes can still be caught on film. Director Benjamin Heisenberg is excellent behind the camera as he's able to do so much with the visuals. The incredible photography is guaranteed to keep the eyes of the audience glued to the screen. As Rettenberger runs from the police, my heart beat harder. The filmmaker took advantage of the sound field as well. Each sound comes through the speakers with extreme clarity. The surround channels are primarily used for ambiance. Don't' expect a reference-quality track, but it gets the job done.
Even though viewers won't remember The Robber for its script, the chase sequences are very memorable. The photography is absolutely phenomenal. However, the drama is disappointing. It often feels second-rate. Fortunately, the film still feels more fresh than many of those being released in America. It's a shame that rumors have been spread that an American remake is on its way. This is very disappointing as it just shows how unoriginal Hollywood has become. The Robber is far from perfect, but it's still worth a watch.