Movie Review: The Old Man & The Gun
While not a brand new release from this weekend, The Old Man & The Gun only hit theaters within the past month. It was written and directed by David Lowery and based upon David Grann's 2003 article in The New Yorker of the same name. The film follows the story of career criminal, Forrest Tucker. Robert Redford stars as Tucker in his last major role, and Casey Affleck plays Detective John Hunt. The film also features performances from Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, and Tom Waits.
The film begins with Forrest Tucker robbing a bank in Texas in 1981 and successfully driving away afterward. He switches out his vehicle for another and decides to help a woman named Jewel on the side of the road on his way out of town. They end up grabbing coffee, where she hesitates to believe him when he reveals himself as a bank robber. Tucker continues to rob different banks, but every time he maintains a gentlemanlike demeanor. This different kind of demeanor helps him and his team to evade the police. However, eventually Detective John Hunt begins to connect all of Tucker’s robberies, which sets him on a journey to find out the location and story of Forrest Tucker.
So, I feel like the best way to categorize this film is just as an easygoing, crime comedy. The story itself is compelling as it explores a man who seems to be unlike any criminal I’ve ever heard of. In addition to the nice demeanor he maintained during his heists, he also managed to escape from eighteen different prisons during the course of his life. The film covers these escapes in an entertaining way, and I cannot help but characterize this film as charming. The entire cast is fantastic, and everything about this film is a tribute to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. It even has a nice little theme about loving what you do, even if that is a slightly strange theme for a character who is a criminal.
It should come as no surprise, though, that Robert Redford is the true highlight of this movie. While he has walked back from some of his initial remarks about retiring, this film feels like an ode to his long, illustrious career. In this film, he is carefree and charming, and he makes this lifelong criminal as likable as many of the characters he has portrayed through the years. I’m not sure I would have believed a story about an older gentleman maintaining a gentlemanly demeanor while robbing banks, but Robert Redford somehow makes this believable. The character might use a gun to coerce the bank employees to cooperate, but his character really disarms people with his smile and pleasant demeanor. The same could be said about Redford himself as he entices audiences with his understated, smooth performance.
The Old Man & The Gun is a simple film but still one that I found enjoyable to watch. It is not an excitable movie by any means, but it is a fun, quirky film. I found it to be nostalgic between Redford’s performance and the grainy quality of the film itself. The music only adds to the tone of the film, and while Redford might be the star, the entire cast adds something special to the overall charm of the film. It is easy to overlook Casey Affleck or Sissy Spacek in light of Redford’s performance, but that would be a mistake since their interactions with Redford are some of the best in the movie. I think that anyone who has followed Robert Redford’s career will enjoy this one in theaters, but if slower-paced movies are not your favorite, then maybe waiting for The Old Man & The Gun to be released on video is a better plan.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.