Since his 1960 debut in “Tall Story,” Robert Redford has had a spectacular acting career during which he won many awards, including two Oscars. Now, he stars in David Lowery’s new movie “The Old Man & The Gun,” which Redford helped produced. After shooting the movie, Redford announced his retirement from acting, and he leaves the stage with a stellar portrayal of a charming bank robber and escape artist in this warm and quiet drama.
After an audacious prison break from San Quentin via a self-made boat, 70-year-old Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) goes on a bank-robbing spree throughout the country with his two partners Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits). Their specialty is fast yet calm robberies that bystanders don’t even realize are in action. On one occasion, detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) becomes one of these bystanders when he tries to deposit a check. From this point on, Hunt becomes obsessed with Tucker and slowly unveils the full spectrum of his crimes. Meanwhile Tucker makes a friend with a widow named Jewel (Sissy Spacek) and while the two slowly fall in love, Tucker starts to reevaluate his life of crime.
Based on a 2003 article in The New Yorker that depicts the true story of Forrest Tucker, director David Lowery (A Ghost Story) wrote a stellar script that puts Robert Redford in the center of the movie. Redford clearly enjoys the attention one last time. The dialogue is witty and the movie is well structured; however, in the end it seems a few scenes were cut from the film but they hardly interrupt the pace.
Lowery’s direction is subtle but precise, and he drives his actors to career highlights. Together with the art department, they recreate the 1960s just as precisely and detail-oriented as “Mad Men,” but instead of New York we get to see southern small towns and farmlands. The discreet editing and perfect soundtrack give this gem of a movie its perfect final touches.
Tucker is charming, clever and anti-violence (his lawyer is sure that he never shot his gun during his criminal career). Also, his scenes with Sissy Spacek are irresistible. The two have an incredible chemistry and Tucker seems to have an answer to everything. Casey Affleck in his third collaboration with Lowery gives another spellbinding performance as a driven cop with a soft side and completes a fantastic ensemble.
This film is pure Stockholm syndrome as the audience quickly sides with the perpetrator. It’s impossible to resist Tucker’s charm and the audience will wish he could evade the law forever, but this is more than just a heist movie. Every character has motives for their actions, which go beyond the obvious. As the characters struggle with right and wrong, this movie tells a story about what makes life really worth living, and the answer is not a simple one.
This is one of my favorites of the year so far and seeing Texas on the screen is always a win! Lowery made a charming and quiet film just like Tucker’s robberies. Not for fans of spectacle, this movie serves fans of dialogue driven true-crime stories. Heartwarming, honest and full of small ideas that make it more interesting, “The Old Man & The Gun” is an almost perfect symbiosis of great acting and powerful film making that leaves the viewer with a tear of happiness running down the cheek. Farewell Robert Redford, this is definitely the good-bye this legend deserves!
Overall Rating: 10/10
The Old Man & The Gun (2018)
Written & directed by David Lowery
With Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Elizabeth Moss, John David Washington, Keith Carradine
Produced by James D. Stern, Dawn Ostroff, Jeremy Steckler, Anthony Mastromauro, Bill Holderman, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston, Robert Redford
Cinematography by Joe Anderson
Edited by Lisa Zenu Churgin
93 minutes, PG-13