THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN
FOUR STARS Forrest Tucker is an octogenarian bank robber who simply doesn't know when to stop.
Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek
COMEDY DRAMA #THEOLDMANANDTHEGUN
Robert Redford retired from acting with a flourish in this cheery caper story that has the octogenarian actor signing off with one of his most memorable characters. THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN is based on the impossibly true story of Forrest Tucker, a bank robber who simply didn’t know how to stop. Not after he’d been jailed numerous times, not after he escaped San Quentin jail at the age of 70 in a hand made canoe, not after he was jailed again in his eighties. You can see the appeal for Redford who’s starred in over seventy films and until now, showed no signs of stopping. Perhaps, like Tucker, retirement is a ruse.
Tucker’s gang (old timers Danny Glover and Tom Waits) had age on their side given old people are largely invisible. Stealing relatively small sums then disappearing into the crowd was their method, Tucker’s easy charm was their signature. By the time local police (led by Casey Affleck) got a handle on their activity, and because no one had been physically harmed, the gang had won over a sympathetic public. Yet the law is the law, and a crime is a crime.
Directed with considerable finesse by David Lowrey (he also worked with Affleck on the exceptional GHOST STORY and AINT THEM BODIES SAINTS), THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN is a delight from start to finish. Redford at his charismatic best is undoubtedly the main attraction - a man who is more icon than actor these days - however the chemistry he shares with Sissy Spacek as an emerging love interest and tone perfect support by Glover, Waits and Affleck combine to create one very memorable movie.
In some regards the film doesn’t do or say all that much that hasn’t been said before. But then, it doesn’t need to either, Redford’s effortless presence does all the work. And within the simple cat-and-mouse framework of the bank-robber movie, Lowrey gets to muse on life, death and all the motivation that lies in between. He also gets to write a love poem for an actor who does this stuff in his sleep and its Redford’s considerable presence that makes the movie such a pleasure to watch.
A heist yarn that’s free of violence is unusual in itself, one that features upbeat, positive pensioners makes it unique. And because this movie is also (possibly) our last chance to see Redford on form and in action makes THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN simply unmissable..