Stars as a competent political thriller but degenerates into a routine chase movie
- The Company You Keep review by RP
Way back in the late 1960s through to the mid 1970s The Weather Underground was a student-led militant anti-war protest movement, aimed at stopping the Vietnam War by violent direct action after years of ineffective peaceful protest.
'The Company You Keep' is set some 40 years after these events, and is a fictionalised account of how a group of young activists have disguised their past, growing old and respectable, hiding in full view in mainstream society - while still wanted for murder after the death of a guard in a bank robbery. All has gone well with their lives, until one of their number turns herself in to the FBI.
Robert Redford looks suitably craggy (but has a ridiculously young 11 year-old on-screen daughter) as current-day left-wing lawyer Jim Grant with a hidden past. Shia LaBeouf plays a young newspaper reporter out to make a name for himself, and a whole panoply of well known actors have small parts (Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott et al). Julie Christie has a bigger part as Mr Redford's old flame.
I've never liked the work of Shia LaBeouf, but here he is quite well cast as the reporter, who doggedly unearths not only Jim Grant's dodgy past, but tracks down other Weathermen involved in the bank robbery. Robert Redford goes on the run, meets up with Julie Christie, LaBeouf follows him, it all ends happily...
What seemingly starts out as a political thriller with a few nods to the problems of print journalism in an on-line age, degenerates into a run-of-the-mill chase thriller. Complicated by a cast of grey-haired actors who all seem to look alike so that it's difficult to tell who's who, the film begins with an interesting premise then descends into something only just above average.
I had recently seen Julie Christie in her break-through role in 'Billy Liar' and wanted to see what her recent work looked like. Now I know - and it's not as interesting as the part she played in the last film of hers I saw, 'Away From Her'.
Robert Redford not only has the lead role but also directed and co-produced. It's a competent film and I'll give it 3/5 stars - not bad, but not quite good enough for 4 stars.
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