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| 25 February 2019 | Reply

Co-written and Directed by David Lowery
Starring Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Robert Redford insists that The Old Man And The Gun will be his last acting role, and if so, it’s a masterfully restrained way for the craggy 82-year-old to bow out.

Redford produced the film, which is based on David Grann’s 2003 article of the same name in the New Yorker magazine, detailing the true story of Forrest Tucker, a bank robbing lifer with a history of prison escapes who, whilst living with his third wife in a retirement village in Florida, staged a series of audacious and meticulous bank robberies.

The film pairs Redford, as Tucker, with similarly aged gang members Danny Glover and Tom Waits. Rather than being ensconced in a retirement village with his spouse as in real life, Director David Lowery moves Tucker and co on the road, having committed dozens of robberies across five states.

While on the lam, Tucker meets Sissy Spacek, who falls for him despite his immoral profession. The connection between the elderly lovers is obvious, with the actors bring charm and care to their on-screen relationship. Casey Affleck plays bored and depressed Detective John Hunt, who even while inching closer to catching Tucker, can’t help but be admiring of his quarry’s dedication to his craft.

Tucker is a gentlemanly robber – polite, charming, gentle, but determined in his goal all the same. In many ways he was the last of his breed, no gun-toting wild-eyed crazed psycho, but a man who treats what he does as a job. It’s a job which has become a compulsion – robbing banks with a smile and good manners gives him the thrill he desperately needs to keep him feeling alive, just as Hunt needs the chase to put meaning into his life.

The Old Man & The Gun is a beautifully shot, gorgeously acted, simple story told with all the complexity that difficult lives bring.

SPOILER; When he is finally caught Tucker manages one last escape – his finest yet: escape from his criminal life to a happy retirement with the woman he loves. But he can’t settle – relaxed retirement is not for him, and after robbing five more banks in one day he is again captured, this time for good.

“I’m not talkin’ about making a living,” Tucker announces at one point. “I’m just talking about living!” The comparison with Redford’s need to act is obvious, and we can’t help but wonder if he really will remain in retirement.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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