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Der Räuber - The Robber
Benjamin Heisenberg, Austria

Adapted from a novel that was inspired by a true story, The Robber follows a man named Johann Rettenberger (Andreas Lust), who as the film opens is already in prison, at the end of a seven-year sentence for an attempted bank robbery. A parole officer in the system has taken a liking to him and believes that Johann is determined to become a marathon runner upon release, even arranging for a treadmill in his cell for training. When he gets out of jail he does, indeed, run and win a marathon in Vienna, shocking the running world and collecting a handsome prize as well as a bit of fame. But before that he's already gone back to bank robbing, and this time his skills have improved, a series of bold and daring daylight hold ups where he is in and out quickly. He continues this double life as ex-con running star and efficient bank robber for many months. Eventually of course the criminality catches up to him, and his last escape may be his final exit.

Loosely based on the exploits of real-life amateur marathoner and bank robber Johann Kastenberger in 1980s Austria, Lust is very strong as the man mysteriously driven to push his adrenaline-fueled activities to the limit. No armchair psychology is employed to guess why, but watching him do his thing is an exciting ride, punctuated by some fantastic chase sequences, especially a robbery gone wrong that he improvises into a second hold-up just blocks from the botched one as the police are responding, and his daring jailbreak. It's basically the Dustin Hoffman movie Straight Time crossed with Michael Mann's TV movie "The Jericho Mile", but very well made.