Movie reviews: 'The Robber,' 'The Double Hour,' 'Submarine' and 'L'Amour Fou'

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 10, 2011 - 12:34 PM

The latest weekend releases, reviewed by Star Tribune critic, Colin Covert.

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Craig Roberts in "Submarine"

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THE ROBBER

★★★ 1/2 out of four stars • Unrated; nudity, violence, sexual situations. In German, subtitled. • Theater: Lagoon.

This spare, tough-as-nails crime melodrama centers on stoic Rettenberger (Andreas Lust), a Viennese convict who uses his parole to indulge in his only interests -- competitive running and robbing banks at gunpoint. He is extremely accomplished at both. Director Benjamin Heisenberg refuses to explain his antihero's motivation. Rettenberger hides his loot in a garbage bag beneath his bed, and never brags about his athletic prowess. He simply trains harder to run more punishing races and to pull more daring heists. His endorphin-high exploits assume the stature of existential gestures. He's Nietzsche's übermensch with a pump gun. The film boasts several turbocharged chase-and-escape sequences, alongside understated character analysis. Rettenberger isn't the type to retaliate against someone who wounds him in self-defense, or to harm innocent hostages, but if you prattle on about rehabilitation for ex-cons and second chances, he might bash your skull in. Based, amazingly enough, on the true story of Austrian master criminal and marathon champ Johann Kastenberger.

THE DOUBLE HOUR

★★★ 1/2 • Unrated; violence, sexual situations, nudity and drug use. In Italian, subtitled. • Theater: Edina

Sonia (Ksenia Rappoport), a vulnerable-seeming chambermaid in a swank Turin hotel, and Guido (Filippo Timi), a widowed security guard, meet at a speed-dating salon. They don't quite click, but coincidence gives them a second chance to connect; Guido claims that fate plays tricks like that when the clock shows a "double hour" (like 3:03). They begin to date, and he invites her for a romantic getaway at his employer's country estate. The gorgeous surroundings and the couple's growing attraction imply a blossoming romance, but an undertone of menace pays off in several dramatic twists that draw us into psychological thriller territory, high-stakes crime and possibly the supernatural. Debut director Giuseppe Capotondi's nerve-shredding puzzler will delight fans of Hitchcock and Polanski. A huge surprise erupts two-thirds of the way through the movie. If you check your watch when the film starts and again when the shocker detonates, you'll see that the movie has been running for 1:01. 

L'AMOUR FOU

★★ 1/2 • Unrated; mature themes and drug references. Theater: Lagoon.

Fashion star Yves Saint Laurent lacked the wild theatricality of Karl Lagerfeld, the shrewd, self-promoting chutzpah of Ralph Lauren and the trendsetting exhibitionism of Marc Jacobs. Bashful to the core, the late couturier remains a man of mystery even in Pierre Thoretton's documentary. Pierre Berge, Saint Laurent's longtime lover and business partner, reminisces about their relationship, discussing much but revealing little. As auction house movers crate up the couple's magnificent art collection, we get Berge's memories of his partner, from their bold launch of an independent design firm, through YSL's impressively diverse collections, and on to the dark days of his decline. Saint Laurent comes off as a warm if high-strung artist, given to bursts of dynamo productivity and bouts of depression, eventually turning to drugs, alcohol and promiscuity to make himself feel better. A few less-protective commentators and a dash of good Euro-scandal would add interest. Still, for fashion lovers, the film's mini-retrospective of Saint Laurent's work should be a thrill.

SUBMARINE

★★ • Rated: R for language and some sexual content. Theater: Lagoon.

This greatest-hits catalog of Wes Anderson moments is narrated by Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), a self-obsessed, socially awkward 15-year-old Welsh schoolboy in an amorphous 1980s time warp. Young Oliver guides us through his autobiography by invoking every clichéd quirk of contemporary indie moviemaking. With his flat emo-boy affect, Roberts resembles a glum toadstool. Aping Wes Anderson's half-play, half-movie aesthetic, director Richard Ayoade wrings sporadic laughs out of secondhand shtick. Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor are amusingly passive-aggressive as the boy's parents and Paddy Considine is creepy-funny as Hawkins' former lover, a smarmy New Age guru/ninja. After an OK start, "Submarine" sinks beneath sloggy pacing and a general lack of originality.

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