Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.
In August 2018, Robert Redford announced his intention to retire from acting after a career spanning almost 60 years, with that announcement meaning that ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ would be his swansong. If this is indeed his final role, it’s a fine capper to a remarkable career, with Forrest Tucker representing the kind of lovable rogue that Redford made a career out of playing. Loosely based on a true story, the film tells the tale of Forrest Tucker, a career criminal and prison escape artist who continues to rob banks as he heads into his 70s. For some, criminality is a way to make a quick buck. For Forrest, this appears to be a genuine passion, and Redford plays him perfectly with a trademark twinkle in his eye.
‘The Old Man & the Gun’ is directed by David Lowery, whose varied filmography includes the live action Disney remake of ‘Pete’s Dragon’, last year’s experimental ‘A Ghost Story’, and the haunting neo-western ‘Ain’t Them Bodies Saints’. His direction here is unshowy, allowing Redford and an equally great Sissy Spacek the space to deliver the kind of effortlessly compelling performances that have made them cinematic legends. Spacek plays Jewel, a widow who Forrest befriends, and the chemistry between the two actors is terrific and their interactions just made me smile. Casey Affleck plays the detective on the trail of Forrest and his gang, although his role is less developed than the others in the film. The narrative plays out without too many surprises but I was entertained throughout and bought into the story through the strong performances.
There’s a lot about ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ that makes it feel like a film from the 1970s, and not just because it harks back to Redford’s heyday and roles such as the Sundance Kid. It’s a film that trusts in a strong cast to captivate the audiences in a easygoing story focusing on a character who whilst a criminal, you can’t help but warm too, and that’s largely down to Redford. A fine end to a fine career and I really liked ‘The Old Man & the Gun’.
Directed By: David Lowery
Starring: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, Elisabeth Moss, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Keith Carradine, John David Washington and Gene Owens