Robert Redford is a great actor. His early and mid-career were full of box office hits that made him among the biggest movie stars at the time. Most people don’t know, but he’s also a producer of many fine films and even directed a few. Outside of his acting he’s probably most famous for his collaboration with the state of Utah in creating and running the Sundance Film Festival (it was started in 1978 and is named after Redford’s character in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid).
This last week saw the release of a new Redford movie, The Old Man and the Gun, which is supposedly his final film before he fully retires from acting. Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. He might be 82 years young, but I have my doubts as to whether he is able to give up his ‘bank robbing’ for good.
I’ve decided NOT to include the trailer at the end of this review because I think it gives too much of the story away. I think your experience in watching this will be greatly enriched if you avoid as much as you can about it before experiencing the film itself.
Here’s the synopsis:
At the age of 70, Forrest Tucker makes an audacious escape from San Quentin, conducting an unprecedented string of heists that confound authorities and enchant the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt, who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and a woman who loves him in spite of his chosen profession.
It cannot be overstated how infinitely charismatic Robert Redford is in this film. He brings every bit of charm he has left in him to his screen presence here. This is his finest performance in at least the last 10 years or even longer. The supporting cast is delightful as well, particularly Sissy Spacek. Casey Afleck also shines. It can’t be emphasized enough how enjoyable every single performance in this movie is.
The film is remarkably well edited, directed, and written. Its runtime is an hour and thirty minutes, however it still feels leisurely paced while still cramming in a significant amount of story. Heist films of recent years like Baby Driver and Logan Lucky have tended to drag on a bit, in my opinion. I loved both those films, but they both ran on too long.
The story takes place in the early 1980’s and handles the pitfalls that periodically plague period pieces perfectly. The audience can easily identify the era, yet the story doesn’t jam it in their face.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Old Man and the Gun is Robert Redford’s finest film in the last decade at least, and possibly longer. It is a leisurely exploration of what it means to pursue your passion and living life rather than making a living. It’s one of my favorite films of the year and I recommend it to all.