Friday, October 28, 2011

Film Major: "The Robber"

There's a new "running" film available on DVD/Blu-ray. It's "The Robber" (aka Der Räuber), which is the Benjamin Heisenberg-directed film based on the true story of Austrian bank robber/marathoner, Johann Kastenberger. The screenplay was adapted from Martin Prinz's 2006 book, "On the Run." The film made the film festival rounds in the spring, but the DVD/Blu-ray release will be most's first exposure to the film. It's also available on Netflix Instant. The film is in German, but is sub-titled in English and is very easy to follow, as the dialogue is very deliberate.

German headlines of Kastenberger's demise
So who was Johann Kastenberger? According to the film, and to Wikipedia, Kastenberger was a convicted bank robber, who was first arrested in 1977 for robbing an Austrian bank. He served a 7-year prison term and trained extensively while in person. Upon release, he made an instant splash in the marathon, setting an Austrian national record (the film shows 2:20, but I can't corroborate that anywhere online and haven't read Prinz's book yet). The film does show him winning the ultra difficult Kainach Mountain Marathon in a still standing record of 3:16. Not long after being released from prison the first time around, Kastenberger reverts to his bank-robbing ways and becomes known as "Shotgun Ronnie," due to his penchant for wearing a Ronald Reagan mask during his robberies. This is something that is left out of the film.

Andreas Lust does a very passable job in portraying a competitive runner. He's fit, has good form and most importantly, looks the part. There are some excellent action scenes in "The Robber," particularly one after a robbery nearly goes awry and he runs through multiple buildings being followed by a single camera, and ends up hopping on a trail to evade the police. It's a very entertaining film and is well worth 90 minutes of your time.

Pick up "The Robber" at (on DVD / on Blu-Ray) or watch instantly via Netflix.

Check out the trailer below:

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