Starring: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck
Director: David Lowery
Running Time: 93 mins
The Old Man & The Gun is an American film about the true story of Forrest Tucker, and his exploits robbing banks all over the country at the age of 70.
This is a delightful film. With a classic old-style vibe running throughout that’s reminiscent of the likes of Bonnie And Clyde, Harold And Maude, and of course Robert Redford’s exploits in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid and The Sting, The Old Man & The Gun is a wonderfully elegant and enjoyable watch throughout, complete with a surprising true story, great humour, and strong performances from an all-star cast.
There’s only one place to start with this film, however, and that’s with Robert Redford. If this is to be his last film, as he has stated, then it’s a fantastic way to go out, with a thoroughly exciting and memorable performance that signals he has lost absolutely none of his effortless charisma over his legendary career.
The Old Man & The Gun is a delightful watch in many ways, but its strongest suit is definitely Redford’s performance, as he demonstrates his incredible natural talent for acting with a performance that’s just as good, and arguably even better than it was decades ago, surprising once more as he takes on the role of an old man with just as much spark as someone fifty years younger.
As a result, the film’s premise, that of an old man stumping police officers across the country as he pulls off bank robbery after bank robbery, works brilliantly throughout, and the Redford’s cheekily charismatic turn perfectly sums up his character’s motivations, as a highly intelligent man who was just living life the way he loved living, something that makes him an immensely likable lead from beginning to end.
The fact that this is a true story is just the icing on the cake for what is a thoroughly enjoyable watch, and while the film does a great job at telling the story of Forrest Tucker’s many, many bank jobs, it also brings a pleasing and moving emotional heart to the table as well, as we see Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek develop an intimate and elegant relationship, even while all of the madness around the heists is going on.
As a result, during the downtime where we don’t see one of the many perfectly-executed heists, there’s still a lot to focus on, and Redford and Spacek are absolute dynamite on screen together, meaning that their characters’ relationship is just as wonderful to follow as the crime is exciting and entertaining throughout.
If I were to have one problem with The Old Man & The Gun, it would be the fact that it doesn’t quite tie those two elements of the story together perfectly. While the crime is exciting, and the drama is just as engrossing, I would have liked to see the two come together a little more cohesively. Furthermore, when the film really tries to push the cat-and-mouse aspect of the police investigation, it doesn’t quite have the pace necessary to make that thoroughly convincing, at least not until the final act.
In the end, what makes this film work is its combination of good humour, great acting, and classic, old school-style filmmaking, creating an elegant swansong for Redford, as well as an emotionally engrossing story right the way through, and that’s why I’m giving The Old Man & The Gun a 7.5 overall.