The Old Man and the Gun: LFF Film Review

Robert Redford recently announced that The Old Man and the Gun would be his last acting role, and while it remains to be seen if he sticks to his retirement plan, he can be happy in the knowledge that his final movie is one entertaining crime caper.

In this “mostly true” tale, Redford stars as Forrest Tucker, a career criminal and prison escape artist, who escaped from San Quentin prison via homemade kayak. The film follows Tucker when he’s in his 70s and still robbing banks like nobody’s business. With support from pals Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits), Tucker robs banks like a gentleman – talking politely, smiling and being nice as if a regular transaction is taking place. Their spree is eventually rumbled by John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who is determined to track them down even once the case is taken over by the FBI.

David Lowery is known for much darker pieces of work, so I was surprised to see him make something so light-hearted, fun and mainstream as this. I frequently had a smile on my face. Redford’s Tucker is just so charismatic and nice, like he loves what he does and the thought of getting caught doesn’t faze him. He’s far from your usual criminal, all dressed up in his smartest suit. His charm and positive demeanour are captivating and Redford seems to really be enjoying himself.

This is an incredible story and perfect fodder for a comedy and Lowery drums it up further with his witty screenplay, editing decisions and a clever montage of Tucker’s escapes that references some of Redford’s earlier work.

Besides Redford, Sissy Spacek also shines as Jewel, Tucker’s love interest. She’s so sweet and their scenes together are a joy. That chemistry! Tika Sumpter is also in the love interest role, as Hunt’s wife, but she doesn’t get much to do beyond that. Elisabeth Moss makes an appearance for one scene but it’s an important one.

The Old Man and the Gun is a really easy, enjoyable watch. I had a lot of fun with it.

Seen as part of the 2018 BFI London Film Festival. Set for release on 7th December 2018.

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