OLD MAN & THE GUN, THE
Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) executes 16 audacious escapes in the course of an unprecedented string of gentlemanly bank heists throughout his life that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. (Based on a true story.)
Review by Louise Keller:
You know when a film comes along that feels just right? It might even sing to you? Well, this is one of those films. Based on an 'almost true' story, and the perfect role for Robert Redford in what he says may be his last role, the film plays out like a well-oiled gun - it fires effortlessly with perfect aim, delivering an endearing tale about relationships, survival and knowing how to live as opposed to making a living. Uplifting, amusing and profoundly moving on multiple levels, this is a film for the discerning.
Beautifully directed by David Lowery, who also wrote the screenplay (inspired by an article in the New Yorker), the pace and feel of the film echoes the style of its audacious bank robber protagonist Forrest Tucker (Redford), who charms everyone whose path he crosses - including the banks that he robs. There's real onscreen magic between Redford and Sissy Spacek, who plays the aptly named Jewel, a philosophical gal who's 'just driving and headed nowhere'. They meet on the side of the road when her pick-up truck stalls. The juice of their relationship begins in a diner, when Tucker corrects the lie he tells her that he is in sales, by writing what he really does for a living on a piece of paper that goes back and forth on the table. Watch for the lovely scene in which they chat on the porch of her ranch, and when she articulates pearls of wisdom concerning happiness and taking advantage of potentially the last chance you have at achieving it.
The dynamic between Tucker and Casey Affleck's mustachioed police officer John Hunt is also perfect. Affleck has always perfected the art of 'laid-back' and here his obsession to catch the thief begins when he finds himself by chance to be at the scene of one of the crimes. It all plays out so smoothly, he doesn't even notice. By the time he researches his prey and begins to appreciate his qualities, he is none too keen to expose him. Hunt's home life and personal relationship with his wife (Tika Sumpter) and children also add dimension. The use of the Kinks' song Lola is especially effective. He, like the rest of those who encounter Tucker, are seduced by his style, politeness and sense of happiness. Danny Glover and Tom Waits blend in as the other two members of the Over the Hill gang.
Ultimately, the film rests firmly on Redford's shoulders and his effortless charisma. There is something inherently comforting about his lack of vanity - every wrinkle feels as though it has been earned and can potentially tell a story. We are reminded of Redford's legacy and the immense talent The Sundance Kid still exudes. Like the bank robber who never wants to stop robbing banks, we hope Redford feels the same about making films.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Fate found Robert Redford the perfect role with which to put a full stop to his screen acting career (or maybe he hunted this down). Forrest Tucker can be seen as the older twin of the legendary Sundance Kid in George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), the iconic Western in which two bank robbing buddies smile and joke their way through the most exciting adventures - to the very end.
But that's just a passing reference, because this (almost entirely) true story of Forrest Tucker is unique in a couple of respects. One is the sheer audacity of Tucker's lifelong work, the other his well groomed persona and gentlemanly smile throughout.
Redford clearly enjoyed making this film, easing into the character seamlessly. His screen authority is supreme, his instincts acute; the character is real. As is Casey Affleck's John Hunt, the well named cop trying to track him down. Sissy Spacek decorates the screen as Jewel, the widow whose life crosses Tucker's at the most opportune moment, and who ultimately provides a haven of friendship and even a modicum of redemption (not too much, though).
David Lowery has adapted a New Yorker article (by David Grann) about the real Tucker with a sense of respect but also a sense of fun, inherited from the man who managed to escape from jail 16 times, including once from the formidable San Quentin.
The film is entertaining and engaging, with plenty of character to be involved with, not to mention gentlemanly 'old world' bank robbing.
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OLD MAN & THE GUN, THE (M)
CAST: Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Tika Sumpter, Ari Elizabeth Johnson, Teagan Johnson, Gene Jones, John David Washington
PRODUCER: Toby Halbrooks, Bill Holderman, James M. Johnston, Anthony Mastromauro, Dawn Ostroff, Robert Redford, Jeremy Steckler, James D. Stern
DIRECTOR: David Lowery
SCRIPT: David Lowery, (New Yorker article by David Grann)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Joe Anderson
EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin
MUSIC: Daniel Hart
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Scott Kuzio
RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: November 15, 2018
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: eOne Entertainment