n a quietly compelling film about a marathon runner who moonlights as a hold up artist, Benjamin Heisenberg's The Robber tells the true story of Johann Kastenberger in the days following his release from prison.
The problem, however, is his compulsion to rob banks ... lots of banks. And one after another, the masked man with a hoodie and a duffel bag pulls out his shotgun and quietly demands the teller fill the bag.
Filmed in the cities and wooded countryside of Austria, the film's atmosphere is minimal. There's little dialogue and most of the emotion and context is created with silence.
Even the robbery scenes are understated (though truly exciting), with the bulk of the action taking place as the main character runs from a stolen car back to the apartment he shares with his lover; a woman who could help him stay on the straight and narrow -- if he'd let her.
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But Kastenberger doesn't fancy the straight and narrow, and the filmmaker leaves the reasons why up to our own interpretations.
Beautifully shot, and evenly paced, The Robber is an unexpected thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat without the typical pyrotechnics seen in most caper/bank robbery films. It's currently playing at FilmBar, 815 N. Second Street in Phoenix, through July 16.
For more information, check out FilmBar's website or watch the trailer below: