When ex-con Alex (Krisch) hatches a plan to rob a bank and escape to a better life with his girlfriend, he has no notion of the nightmare about to unfold.
Nominated for the 2008 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, Götz Spielmann’s Austrian character study is as good a thriller as we’ll see all year. A terrific Johannes Krisch is the hardman for a Viennese brothel who, wishing to whisk his prostitute lover away from the hard life, holds up a bank in the small country town of his grandfather.
With all the fatalism of the best film noir, Spielmann follows the ramifications of Krisch’s actions, letting the character’s emotions dictate the plot rather than the other way round. It’s a meditation on the right to retribution and the cold quality of blame but, best of all, it’s a hypnotic, twisty-turny exercise in suspense — the setting may be idyllic, but doom is never far away.
As good a thriller as you'll see this year.