The Robber is a simple film. Minimalist in execution, but fraught with tension that excites and thrills. Unlike the lead of the film, this is a plot that is easy to keep up with, as a marathon runner decides to throw caution to the wind of the usual robbery techniques and evade the police on foot. Storming into banks with a shotgun and a mask, he takes his stash quickly and runs faster and longer than anyone else can.
There is little to invest in Hans (Andreas Lust); he is not an anti-hero, a desperate family man or a hardened criminal. No back-story other than showing that he is a great runner, and with that the robbing appears random and unexplained. You could classify it as realistic in that sense, only those close to the criminals will have a hint as to why they do it, and in some cases no matter how close you are, it is still a mystery. Quite often they will act alone to protect those around them, but provide off the back of their rewards. We are kept at a distance, but perhaps this is for our own good.
The Robber is a fantastic film to watch, with cinematography that keeps the heart racing, built up chase sequences, and a story that fills you with confused sympathy. Hans is a man on the run, but not only from the police, you get a sense that his running compensates for his own personal demons. His relationship is completely emotionless, he barely utters a word the entire film, and the small joy he gets from running needs to be heightened by his thrill of the chase. Running can be used as an outlet to forget about what is happening in our lives and gain clarity; It is in these moments that we see Hans as a lonely, trapped individual addicted to the thrill of the chase. His criminal activities spurs him on to perfect the optimum running conditioning, but yet with his judgement now clouded, how does someone manage when the activity you use to seek clarity becomes a dangerous criminal activity with a repetitive outcome?
Based on a real life criminal, and the novel of the same name by Martin Prinz, The Robber is more than a sequence of well crafted robberies presented for us to view. Devoid for the most part of any real emotion, resulting in no solid conclusion, yet it still provides enough of a character study on the lonely runner and the hole criminals run themselves into. While it lacks in the type of obvious substance you would come to expect from a movie of this topic, there is nothing wrong with that when what you are watching is as good as this. If you can adjust your expectations, then this bleakly brilliant movie will leave you speechless.