Laconic and ultra-realistic in style, Benjamin Heisenberg’s (Sleeper) latest drama is based on the true story of one Johannes Rettenberger, a bank robber in 1980’s Vienna with the nickname Pumpgun Ronnie because of the Ronald Reagan mask he sported while committing his crimes. In jail he took up running and when he got out he alternated between his newfound passion for marathons and his old-time love for robbing banks, trying and failing to substitute the endorphin high he got from the former for the kicks he took from the latter. Andreas Lust immerses himself in the character of Rettenberger, giving him a chilling and implacable need that can never be fulfilled.

“A truly remarkable film … about men of violence running on empty... Heisenberg supplies no psychology or motivation. Perhaps Johannes runs because the world around him and the pettiness of its inhabitants disgust him. Perhaps he’s an anarchist without a cause. Perhaps he’s just another instance of what happens from time to time in our money-go-round society - something snaps. Tellingly there’s virtually no difference between Johannes’ pale, unremarkable face and the mask he hides behind - it’s as if he slips into an alter ego that is merely a more radical version of himself...”

Olaf Möller,
Film Comment

Presented in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Irland