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Home > Written Reviews, Written Reviews > “The Old Man & The Gun” Fascinating & Revealing

“The Old Man & The Gun” Fascinating & Revealing

 

 

 

 

Review by John Delia

Fascinating and revealing the scriptwriters of The Old Man & the Gun take a chance on a true story, but it’s nothing more than a showcase rather than a compelling feature film. There have been quite a few films in the last decade that create vehicles offering audiences a chance to see a famous star in their twilight, light up the screen. While many have been used as support characters, this one serves as Robert Redford’s homage for an amazing contribution to the movie industry.

Robert Forrester was a bank robber and as he grew older and very successful, he continued his criminal profession. In fact, it became easier with his gentlemanly persona and kindly manner. Late in his life and following one of his daring robberies, he meets Jewel (Sissy Spacek) along the highway by her overheated vehicle. The two strike up a conversation leading to a loving friendship and even though she’s not aware of his past, she has suspicions.

Gene Jones as “Mr. Owens” and Robert Redford as “Forrest Tucker” in the film THE OLD MAN & THE GUN. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

As the film plays out, we are treated to flashbacks of Forrester’s past and his present cross country bank heists. Most look like an easy in and out with a thank you mam and a chase through the streets of the small towns. It’s actually a fun romp and with the brilliant Redford doing the acting, it’s a walk down memory lane. For memories the film works, for a dramatic feature not so much.

Danny Glover as “Teddy” and Tom Waits as “Waller” in the film THE OLD MAN & THE GUN. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Director and screenwriter David Lowery seems to be enamored by the mega star inserting scenes and photos from the likes of many of his early films in order to show the age change. It’s actually a nice introspective of sorts, even though it isn’t necessary to the plot. Fun to remember and touching to see him as the vibrant actor he was and is today, he’s still got it you can bank on that.

That said, maybe I was lost in the fine performance by Sissy Spacek who nails her role as the comfortable woman who receives a spark of romance from the charming robber. I really think she seals the show with her performance and it becomes her film. You can call it the “woman who had faith in the thief”. Even though she shines in The Old Man & the Gun, she really sparkled in many of her roles from her 64 credits. If you have not seen them, check out Carrie, In The Bedroom, The River, Missing, Crimes of the Heart, Raggedy Man and an Academy Award performance for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in A Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Robert Redford as “Forrest Tucker” and Sissy Spacek as “Jewel” in the film THE OLD MAN & THE GUN. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

If this is Redford’s final movie for the big screen, let’s not forget his amazing career that includes so many of my all-time favorites. Believe it or not, most of his early works were on TV, the new medium the 1960’s that would eventually challenge movie theaters. His movies though were extraordinary with the likes of Ordinary People, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Barefoot in the Park, The Chase, Inside Daisy Clover, Jeremiah Johnson, All the President’s Men, A Bridge Too Far and many more. My favorite however is The Natural and it gives me chills every time I think about the crack of the bat and the center field lights busting. Adding his acting to most every genre, his performance in Old Man & the Gun surly is a homage to the great actor.

Robert Redford as “Forrest Tucker” in the film THE OLD MAN & THE GUN. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

I would be remiss if I didn’t applaud Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits for their performances in the film. Both Glover and Waits are part of the Old Man’s Gang that would rob banks back in the day. In the film they join in with Forrester to make one last haul. As for Affleck he’s in pursuit of the bank robber and eventfully has to make a hard decision.

Robert Redford as “Forrest Tucker” in the film THE OLD MAN & THE GUN. Photo by Eric Zachanowich. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

It’s sad to hear that Robert Redford will retire, because there are so many roles to play and most of the aging actors look like they are having a good time playing them. Some of the those continuing in their careers that started many years ago include, Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie in White Boy Rick; Ann-Margaret, Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman in Going in Style; Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth in Mamma Mia! Here we go Again; Sam Elliot in A Star Is Born; Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton in Book Club; and many indie’s that had older parts in films within the past two years alone.

The Old Man & the Gun has been rated PG-13 for brief strong language. It’s a gift to those who have followed the career of Redford and certainly a film that’s enjoyable to watch.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  An enjoyable date film. (3.5 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter
Directed and co-written by: David Lowery
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language
Running Time: 1 hr. 33 min.
Opening Date: October 19, 2018
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight
Released in: Standard

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