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The Old Man and The Gun Review - Robert Redford Bids Farewell In Charming Swan Song

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The Old Man and The Gun, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents the story of the notorious gentleman bandit Forrest Tucker who, along with two elderly companions, enjoyed a late-in-life crime spree spreadout across the southwest.

Directed and written by David Lowery The Old Man and The Gun stars Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Elizabeth Moss, Ari Elizabeth Johnson, Teagan Johnson, Gene Jones, Pam Dougherty, and Keith Carradine.

The film begins with a well-dressed man, standing at the teller window, while a teller empties the drawers inside a calf-skin satchel. Handing the case over to the man, we see Forrest Tucker, played by Robert Redford, turning and walking out.


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Tucker flees and like any good robber worth his salt anyway, he switches automobiles, and while the cops are looking for the getaway car it has been ditched. Heading on the highway, we see the signs for Dallas, and as Tucker begins to make a decision on his next move he sees a truck on the side of the road.

Stopping, as it is the neighborly thing to do. He hides under the hood as the police speed by, sirens blaring, and we meet Jewel, played by Sissy Spacek, who ascertains in seconds this stranger knowns nothing about cars.

As he is the gentleman bandit, he is polite, pleasant, and seemingly honest. The two strike up a conversation and the next thing, they are having pie and coffee. Soon they begin to talk a bit more about each other which is where we find out Jewel owns a farm, with three horses, her husband is dead and he explains he is in sales.

With the hope of seeing her again, he reveals a little more of himself and we find out, as he explains his quiet, gentle way of robbing a bank we realize this is something he has always done.

Later in the film we find as profilers, detectives and FBI get involved that this isn’t his way of making a living, it is the only way he feels alive.

Tucker, we find out is quite the escape artist. His most daring and audacious escape came at age 70 when he escaped from San Quentin prison in a makeshift boat that he crafted while serving time in the maximum security, impossible to escape, prison.

We met Detective John Hunt, played by Casey Affleck, who just turned 40 and is feeling old, exhausted. His wife, Maureen, played by Tika Sumpter and two children, Abilene, played by Ari Elizabeth Johnson and Tyler played by Teagan Johnson make his rather uneventful life worth living.

With two elderly accomplishes, played by Danny Glover and Tom Waits, Tucker and his pals given the affectionate name of the Over the Hill Gang by Detective Hunt we find have robbed more than 85 banks in eleven states throughout the southwest.

Led by Robert Redford and an all-star cast, The Old Man and The Gun is an engaging, likeable film with charm, wit, a well-written script and obvious star power.

Robert Redford, who has said this would be his last film, is magnetic especially his scenes with Sissy Spacek as the two older now engage in conversation. She already lived a lifetime, and is happy at this time in her life, and he, an interesting stranger, in a day and age where a charm and stranger don’t usually appear in the same sentence and appeared to be one who doesn’t appear to want to cause harm shows up. As the two, without agenda, are not driven by need to anchor, corral, or hold onto the other the flirtation over pie is a break in a routine day, for both.

The film doesn’t shy away from the ageism or that his choice of profession, armed robbery, is a crime and also that so many really just didn’t care that these three senior citizens where having a last hurrah. The mid-life need to distinguish oneself drives our back story with local, overworked, detectives and the starched boys from the FBI all zeroing in on the trail.

The story of Forrest Tucker is unique, known for having escaped 16 times, which also means he was incarcerated an equal amount, his most bold escape came when he sailed off into the San Francisco Bay, in a makeshift dingy built in the prison machine shop.


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The film is accompanied by a soundtrack that invokes a time and place outside, the orchestration during the conversation scenes transports one to a different place. I wonder if that is the purpose of that sound, right then. Would this have been different if they had met at a different time? The music invokes a season that reaches out from the screen and takes you back to a place with it. It’s absorbing.

The Old Man and The Gun is captivating throughout. Mixing the metaphorical scenery of setting sun, vastness, lonely roads and simple pleasures, health, friends, with the mostly true story the film separates itself from the high stress world of mid-life, which is also our back story, need or loneliness driven relationships, and scattered purposes and presents a singular focused man, at peace.

With Danny Glover and Tom Waits, as his trusty accomplices, Redford and the Over the Hill gang gives everyone a run, albeit not as fast as memory serves, for their money.

The Old Man and The Gun opens September 28, 2018. See it.

 

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