The dishonorably discharged Afghanistan veteran Thomas returns to his home village of Jerichow. Ali, a local Turkish-German businessman, owner of a snack-bar chain, hires him as a driver. ... See full summary »
In watching The Robber, I couldn't help but notice the similarities to this year's Drive. You don't have the blood and cotton candy aesthetic that Refn so expertly delivered that made the latter film really sing, but the titular character is a similar blank state and this story also plays out in a muted way that lets the action do most of the talking instead of the characters. Which sometimes and works and sometimes doesn't. The action scenes are intense and feel really authentic and as we start to get a better understanding of the character, the piece really starts to do some work.
My problem is that we never properly get inside the head of this character, a similar problem that I had with Drive. We get his motivation and the final stretch of the film is tragic and beautiful because of that, but I felt that the whole thing would have been a lot more impressive if I was given an opportunity to emotionally connect with the main character. Unfortunately, the film never allows me to do this because he's presented in such a blank, unemotional light that it becomes more about the ideas than the person. Which is all well and good and the film is certainly impressive, but it holds it back from being something that I could put all of my praise behind and without that wildly unique style that Refn created with his film, this similar project doesn't compare too much.
Still, there's a lot to admire here and aside from the action pieces I really admired the lead performance from Andreas Lust, who was aces in a devastating role in 2009's Revanche. Here he isn't given a lot to work with as an actor, but he commands the screen and presents a character who you simultaneously want to know more about and want to run and hide from. He's fascinating and intimidating, but part of you stands on his side. I just wish I had connected enough so that all of me could be with him.
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