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It's sixties in Western Germany. Thirty-something Gisela Werler is working in the wallpaper company during the day and looking after her sick invalid father at night. She has a boyfriend but is reluctant to marry him. She is waiting for a chance to get away, to be loved and truly alive. When her boyfriend forgets his suitcase at her place he triggers a chain of events. Step after step Gisela is turning into someone else. She is becoming a first ever, German female bank robber. They nicknamed her BANKLADY.
Actor Nadeshda Brennicke, who uncovered the real story of Gisela Werler and was successful in her quest to turn the idea into a movie, gives a reserved, but intuitively believable performance of Gisela, a woman in love, for whom the passion becomes a source of powerful determination. At the same time Gisela is not a heartless bitch, and never really understands the consequences of her actions.
Hermann Wittorff (Charly Hubner) is larger than life, a little goofy character full of grounded charisma. The chemistry between him and Gisela is undeniable. True friends in real life Nadeshda and Charly are natural on screen and as their characters' romance grows becoming something real and even touching.
The tight script with cheeky dialogue and some real tension, is full of twists and turns, with most of them being true to the real life story. Director Christian Alvart, whose Hollywood titles include thrillers CASE 39 with Rene Zellweger and PANDORUM with Dennis Quaid, has perfected the construction of compact, stylish and buzzy scenes, using split screen at times - a style which takes you straight into sixties.
Part of the success of the movie is recreating the atmosphere of the time. The shooting team travelled all around Germany, looking for the right architecture and managed to uncover some real gems. Although the budget allowed for only a few CGI shots,the cinematography and acting can make you believe you have travelled in time.
For it's topic BANCLADY is unexpectedly uplifting. The premise may suggest it, but this is not a German version of Bonny and Clyde, also the comparison is inevitable. This is always a nice surprise when the characters you love do something that makes you proud. With its sober look at the relationship between the leads and never faulting to ignore the true nature of their crimes the movie delivers a simple message: true love won't fade with time.