The Robber


Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 14
  2. Negative: 0 out of 14

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    May 27, 2011
    Exhilarating and, ultimately, filled with a sense of existential dread.
  2. Reviewed by: Cliff Doerksen
    Aug 4, 2011
    Writer-director Benjamin Heisenberg serves up a lean and solidly satisfying existentialist thriller.
  3. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    May 5, 2011
    They use dialogue sparingly, powerfully; a talky detective sounds like a visitor from another planet. The world he has encroached upon is defined by the ability to run and the adrenaline-rush threat of capture. Freedom's just another word in this gripping existential portrait.
  4. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Apr 29, 2011
    As a runner, the robber is dogged; as a robber, the runner is efficient, explosive and fast.
  5. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Apr 29, 2011
    Heisenberg's thriller ends with a chase across highways and through woods that will give viewers adrenaline highs of their own.
  6. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Apr 26, 2011
    Against interpretation, Heisenberg (who is, after all, the grandson of the physicist who gave us the uncertainty principle) has nonetheless created a nimble, dynamic character study of a fiercely guarded loner on the run.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 3, 2011
    The movie therefore offers meager pleasures of character. Where it excels is in staging and cinematography. The running sequences, in races, on city streets and through forests, are very well-handled.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 7 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Oct 17, 2013
    Adapted from Dennis Prinz's novel, which is based on real events, "The Robber" has all the elements of a penetrating character study.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.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 31, 2012
    great movie....suprised on the neg feedback.. i did enjoy all the twists in the film and most importantly thats its a true story ( as theygreat movie....suprised on the neg feedback.. i did enjoy all the twists in the film and most importantly thats its a true story ( as they claim it to be). If you enjoyed "the town" with ben afflick, then you'll definately enjoy this. A marathon runner who has a habit of robbing banks in order to make a living, very suspensfull. Full Review »
  3. Dec 13, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Man has been running for 6 years, while in prison for robbery. Gets out, first day commits a robbery. Throughout the film he uses his talents as a long distance runner to keep away from the law. Might be interesting. He hooks up with an old friend? Lover? The daughter of a friend? Who knows; we aren't told. After a few nights she is madly in love with him. He continues to rob and she finds out. Why? He hides the money and his disguise under his bed. Hmmm. Does he really want to be caught? Then he kills his parole officer (after winning a race, with the trophy no less) because the officer tries to help him. (although he never checks in with him, never gets a job, how is he supposed to live)? Oh yeah, at some point in the film the parole officer says he doesn't need money. Why? He takes silly risk after silly risk and for what? Perhaps it's a psychological study of an addiction to the thrill of the chase.
    there is no chemistry, I didn't care about the man, there is no one else in the film to want to care about, or even be interested in. The man hardly speaks, nothing about his background, he is wooden as is the girlfriend. Not even it being based on a true story makes it worthwhile. Maybe it should be on the reality show, Worlds Dumbest Crooks.
    Perhaps I do not understand the subtle nuances of foreign films. the poorer the film the longer the review. I could write forever. But why bother? Skip it please. better yet, watch it and tell m why it's so good? Even why it's even average?
    Attention critics who when they see something that is not the usual fare, it gets raves - the emperor has no clothes!
    Full Review »