The Old Man And The Gun - This Movie Redford Rocks
Dir: David Lowery
Starring Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Keith Carradine
If this is indeed to be the last time we see Robert Redford’s baby blues twinkling on the big screen, then it’s a hell of a way to depart. Redford delivers one of his finest ever performances as Forrest Tucker, a (true life) serial bank robber and prison escapee. He is all charm, and more than a little tired and worn out, as the outlaw, on the run more towards something than away, captured in all his wrinkly, craggy 82 year-old detail by Lowery’s camera.
Along the way he robs a final few banks, finds late life romance with a fabulous Sissy Spacek, and gets to listen to a hysterical Tom Waits anecdote, all the time pursued by Casey Affleck’s laid back but determined cop. The movie is a character study far more than it is plot-driven, and as such knows how to make full – and proper – use of Redford’s iconic status. An early conversation with Spacek has him claiming he has never been on a horse in his life, but can we really trust Tucker? Let alone the Sundance Kid? As the movie moves toward its satisfying climax, Sundance is invoked more than once – from Redford finally getting in the saddle to wearing a poncho when he does, to what feels like a hurtle towards an inevitably tragic climax.
In that way it is a film as much about Redford the actor as it is about Tucker the bank robber. It is a tale of how and why the anti-hero becomes the hero, how force of personality can overcome the generally accepted sense of morality. And is brilliantly executed on all of these levels.
Plus, the meeting between Reford's outlaw and Casey's cop in a men's room may not quite be up there with Pacino & De Niro in Heat - but it knows the room.
Beautifully edited and with Lowery making powerful use of really revealing close ups on all of his cast, this Old Man moves at such a clip compared to the director’s previous (and hugely over-valued) A Ghost Story. Redford’s bank robber is not quite the last sign of a dying age, not quite the last cowboy in town. But he’s pretty damn close, and the film is all the more resonant and winning for that.
(Plus, it has a great soundtrack – from The Kinks’ Lola to Jackson C. Frank’s always beautiful and well worth hearing Blues Run The Game. Masterful.)
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