It’s safe to assume that everyone is going to miss Robert Redford as he hangs his acting hat upon the shelf after his final performance, but rest assured that the legendary performer has picked quite the film to go out on. Star of some 70+ movies, Redford has done it all with charm and sophistication and in David Lowery‘s sumptuous new film, he showcases all his talents and more in a truly spectacular encore.
Here he plays Forrest Tucker, a real-life criminal who has been in and out of prison multiple times over the decades (the film plays out in the early 1980’s but spans over years previous) thanks to his penchant for both a prison break and a bank robbery. But unlike others who use violence as their means to gaining money, Tucker continues to be a gentleman, a cool, calm customer that those he encounters truly believe to be interested in opening that new account. He’s stung many banks over time and the police, this time led by local detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), are closing in slowly but for Tucker, it only heightens the enjoyment.
We should be rooting for the police, really, as they head steadfast into their pursuit of the criminal mastermind but such is the allure and enigmatic nature of Tucker as a man, and Redford as a performer, that we inevitably want him to get away with it. Directed with typical aplomb by Lowery, this continues his fine run of films thus far: this isn’t about showy, intricate heists but instead it’s a story of life and how we live it. With the clock of impending demise slowly ticking away in the background, we all strive to follow our dreams and succeed in everyday life but this is about those smaller moments, whether its enjoying pie with a loved one, facing our fears or simply living in the moment, Lowery’s tale is a contemplative one that embraces such things.
Of course, when you have someone like Redford at the fore you’re guaranteed fireworks and this is no exception: everything that has made the man and the actor such a colossus is here to enjoy and marvel at, whether it’s that twinkle in his eye or his pitch-perfect humour, he oozes cool throughout the film and just as Sissy Spacek‘s Jewel falls for him almost instantaneously so do we all over again.
If there are a few bumnotes to be had it’s with the support, namely Affleck’s determined cop and Redford’s “old timey” crew in the shape of Danny Glover and Tom Waits, but such side issues are forgivable when you have such a master at the forefront. As suave, subtle and enigmatic as its lead, The Old Man & The Gun is an absolute stunner.
Scott J.Davis | ★★★★ 1/2
Comedy, Drama | USA, 2018 | 12A | BFI London FIlm Festival | Fox Searchlight | 7th December 2018 (UK) | Dir.David Lowery | Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Casey Affleck