On The Big Screen Reviews

The Old Man and the Gun – Review

Robert Redford has had an illustrious career. Starting in the sixties, the actor, producers, philanthropist, festival programmer, and activist has been iconic for…well…all those previously started reasons. Redford is best known as an actor in films such as The Way We Were, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All The President’s Men, earning him critical acclaim, awards, and a legend status.

Though he announced his intent to retire from acting this year, he leaves us with an incredible swansong, The Old Man and the Gun.

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Directed by David Lowery, who gave us masterpieces such as Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and the stunning A Ghost Story, The Old Man and the Gun revolves around the real life story of Forrest Tucker. The 70 year old convict escapes from San Quentin and decides to conduct an string of heists across the country. Despite robbing banks, his way of handling jobs causes the public to become bemused by his antics and even though detective John Hunt is pursuing the criminal, he still cannot stop becoming enchanted with Tucker.

David Lowery is a masterful director who is able to produce an engaging atmosphere that adapts to each situation he is in. From a fantastical adventure with Pete’s Dragon to the soul-stirring A Ghost Story, he has imbued his work with a soulful energy.  With The Old Man and the Gun, he takes this crime story and encases it with a soft, glowing mood. Beguiling in it’s Seventies period feel (including Joe Anderson’s muted cinematography and Daniel Hart’s jaunty, brilliant score,) Lowery crafts an enchanting piece of cinema that is soothing to watch.

Robert Redford is utter perfection as Forrest Tucker. It is really hard for humanize a character who has left destruction in his wake – whether that is weeping tellers, a wife and family who despise him, or the police just trying to capture him. Yet as Redford plays Tucker with an earnestness that leaves you aching to see him succeed. As he talks about wanting to live life and how criminality makes him feel alive, you soften to his journey. Charmed by Reford’s undeniable charisma you are full immersed in Tucker’s story and, ultimately, the film.

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He is supported by the likes of Tom Waitts, Casey Affleck, and Danny Glover. Yet it’s Sissy Spacek’s Jewel, a woman who has caught his eye, that makes the perfect complement to Redford’s Tucker. Their chemistry is bewitching and together, they make an impeccable romance story that is more primary to the secondary robbery.

A couple of years ago, an old colleague of mine coined a cinematic phrased called Chicken Soup for the Soul. Movies that captures you like an embrace; a nourishing bowel of warmth that is bound to make you feel instantly better. As it hits your stomach, curls with it’s goodness, you come away with lovely feelings and the spark of the twinkle in Robert Redford’s eye.


The Old Man and the Gun is out 7th December 

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