One of the intense pleasures of “Ruben Brandt, Collector” (astonishingly, it is Krstić’s first feature) is how it suggests that theft (i.e. “collecting”) is the only way to manage obsession. By hanging these paintings on his wall, Ruben Brandt hopes that their “treachery” will be neutralized. Any art-lover, or collector, will probably relate.
Ruben engages a merry band to steal some of the world’s most famous paintings. With a fast-paced story spanning the globe, and images like a fluidly-undulating art-literate acid flashback, “Ruben Brandt, Collector” is like “To Catch a Thief” as filtered through the multi-eyeballed gaze of Joan Miró, or ”The Pink Panther” as imagined by Pablo Picasso. Eras and styles merge, Warhol alongside Diego Velázquez, Gauguin side by side with Roy Lichtenstein.
Every frame is overwhelming. The characters all look like they have strolled out of Picasso’s dreamworld. The landscapes they zip through are a constantly-changing pop-art emanation, as though the history of art was tossed up into the air, and the movie cavorts among the randomly falling pieces. Hitchcock makes a cameo. Tibor Cári’s score is a constant, urgent and energetic, moving us from dream to reality into fractured reality back into the dream.
Sheila O’Malley, Roger Ebert