Monday 10 December 2018

Film: 'The Old Man & the Gun'

I was supremely impressed by the assuredly light touch of this film, not an easy thing to capture without conspicuous heavy-handedness,  but director and writer, David Lowery ('Ain't Them Bodies Saints?' of 2013 and the even more praiseworthy 'A Ghost Story' of 2017) has achieved just that with honours. 

Based on a true story (well, kind of!) of 70+ year old Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) robbing a succession of banks in which his trademark style is courtesy with a smile, and an equally formidable and audacious series of break-outs. initially from various institutions when he was young, and from prisons later.

As many will be aware, the 82-year old Redford has declared this to be his swansong front-of-camera appearance, and I must say he could have done a lot, lot worse than with playing this entertainingly rogueish character on which to bow out. 

Beginning and ending in Dallas, 1981, we see him executing one of his later heists and, while fleeing the scene in his car, he stops to help a lady (Cissy Spacek - exceptional, but when is she not?)) whose own car has broken down. Giving her a lift a bond develops and when the time soon comes when she asks him what he does for a living he tells her, leaving her both perplexed and curious. Not knowing whether or not he's joking she goes along with his story without much censure on her part, though ever uncertain.
He is part of a trio of aged bank robbers (the 'Over-the-Hill Mob') working directly together and splitting the loot, the other two being Tom Waits and Danny Glover both of whom have little to do in this film, with the latter hardly having to utter a word.
The main cop on their trail is Casey Affleck, dutiful husband and father of three youngsters, ever frustrated by being outfoxed by the gang, in particular Redford's character, the one who actually physically performs the bank robbery acts. 

I also very much liked the slow, lingering camera shots right through this, as though the characters had all the time in the world, though the film itself is a respectably tight and painless 93 mins.

Even better than I'd hoped for, if you want to see something unusual which will keep you both amused and in suspense (like wondering how on earth is it going to end?) I can't recommend this too highly.........................7.5

(IMDb...................7.3 / Rott. Toms..................7.5) 


  1. It appears that you had a good experience at the movies. Possible that this may be Redford's final screen performance? Maybe and maybe not. You never know what lures them back.Considered this one,but this just doesn't seem to be my cup of tea. I have a suspicion that this just make your year-end list.

    1. The fact of it not following formulaic lines gives this extra interest, Paul. It's a refreshingly different take on an oft-explored storyline. Whether it makes my final Top 10 of the year (in just two more weeks. Gosh!) is uncertain as this has been yet another good year - and there's still 'Mary Poppins 2' to come and which I want to squeeze into 2018, the augurs for which are promising with a cast that almost rakes my breath away. (Especially looking forward to seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in his first significant big-screen role. Until 'Hamilton' his name hadn't registered with me but now I know more about him and seen him talking he looks to be an all-round, nice guy.)
      If you get the chance do give 'The Old Man' a try. It's not quite what it may seem to be.

  2. I would give this one a go. I love Robert Redford and I also like stories based on true stories, even a little loosely. I also place some faith in your rating.

    1. Redford is a true cinema icon, Carol, though I have to say that playing here someone who is around 70, he is looking rather older than that, more close his actual age, in fact. Still, as you're a fan this is unmissable.