Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Der Räuber

2009, Austria/Germany, directed by Benjamin Heisenberg (aka The Robber)

Even by the standards of the existential crime film, this is stripped down stuff, never touching on the central character's motivations except to suggest that his compulsions are somehow innate and not subject to any form of self-regulation. He does what he does because he has to, and he does what he does well, though without any obvious pleasure, whether the activity in question is marathon running or robbing banks. The apparent lack of depth, though, is deceptive: it's precisely by the absence of apparent motivations that the viewer is drawn to psychologize and provide explanations where none are offered. There's nuance, too, in the robber's halting relationship with an old friend, their awkward early interactions reinforced by Heisenberg's clever blocking -- much is transmitted just by the ways in which these two people negotiate the same space.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States