Ragtag Cinema has done it again. They have brought to the screen not only a wonderful story, but also a tale of true character development. First seeing the movie’s poster, one may think the Der Räuber (The Robber) is a Germanic mixture between Ben Affleck’s The Town and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Catch Me If You Can. After a short 90 minutes in the theater, the movie poster does not matter. The only thing that matters is the characters and their development, not only internally, but also externally.
The characters truly are the star of the film. The movie is based on the novel The Robber by Martin Prinz which is based on a true story about a bank robber who, on the side, runs marathons and does well in both aspects of his life, legal and illegal.
In Der Räuber, Andreas Lust (“Der Kameramörder”) plays nearly emotionless Johann Rettenberger, an Austrian ex-con who trained to run marathons running in his jail cell while serving time for attempted burglary. After his release, Rettenberger is thrown out to the world attached to a needy parole officer played by Markus Schleinzer (“Rammbock: Berlin Undead”).
Without a place to stay, Rettenberger turns to Franziska Weisz (“Habermann”) who portrays Rettenberger’s old friend Erika. She welcomes him into her home without question, and just as the two begin a romantic relationship, Rettenberger starts to rob banks once again.
This puts not only his relationship with Erika at turmoil but also his freedom, especially after Rettenberger plays a part in the untimely death of his parole officer.
Screenwriter and director Benjamin Heisenberg (“Sleeper”) has mastered the art of quick frame jumps as well as the art of minimum dialogue. The majority of the scenes cut instantly to the next progression, some of the scenes having no dialogue or music whatsoever.
While in some instances this made the audience uncomfortable, they quickly moved on to different scenes using the classic “quick cut.”
The beauty of the entire film is the characters. Through love, bad decisions, and a pump shotgun, the characters outshine the story itself. The subjects entirely overshadowed the plot.
While that may be a problem in more plot-driven movies, Der Räuber effectively used the plot as simply a frame to surround the characters.
The dramatic and bittersweet ending left the audience wondering who truly the bad guy was and who really changed for the worse.
By Shannon Freese