An old man likes The Old Man and the Gun
- The Old Man and the Gun review by DS
Full disclosure - I've got a dog in this fight. I'm an old man, and old gimmer, my fully beard is white, mostly I'm soft and podgy and I am just plain slow nowadays. The Old Man and the Gun is beautiful crime story for me, and people like me. It's how I'd rob a bank.
Robert Redford now craggier and maybe not as easy on the eye as he used to be is still a fine screen presence and team him up with veterans who know their game, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover and Tom Waits, and throw in a young buck at the top of his, Casey Affleck, and no matter how slow-burning the story is or how unbelievable, even though it is mainly a true story, and you are going to get more good than bad.
Detractors will say the story is slow, there is 'no action' and there's a lot of sitting around and talking, well I would have to say that's the point. This is older people and specifically an older man who does not believe in violence but patience and charm to get his way. It is a slow easy conversation with a cup of coffee of a film. Sunday afternoon easiness made as a story and sometimes we are all better for watching such a story. It cannot always be evil murderers, exploding helicopters and two hours of shoot-outs.
The whole film has a relaxing feel to it and this comes through in Redford's easy charm and portrayal of Tucker. His chemistry and playful sparring with Spacek, the core to the story, is believable and enjoyable, likewise his love and friendship with partners in crime, Waits and Glover, who shine in lesser supporting roles feels authentic. Not as easy to do as many a film has proved.
Affleck as the man looking for a spark in his career John Hunt gets obsessed with the robbers gives a great 'everyman' display and his loving family life is truthful and not realistic, little touches like this make The Old Man and his Gun a slow-burning success. With the running time and barely over 90 minutes the time flew by.
With enjoyable and likeable characters on the screen for nearly all of the running time Robert Redford has certainly chosen a great film to go out on, if indeed this is his swansong, maybe not a spectacular and certainly divisive one would imagine, slow languid films are not everyone's cup of tea, but it cannot be denied at 80 years of age he is still an engaging film presence.
The locations are on the nose mid-west America and generally seem to be period-correct, although I'm no expert on 80s USA, the story and cinematography are straight forward and uncomplex, but this is the strength of the film.
An uncomplicated, mainly true, grey-bank-robber story, if you want a nice relaxing gentle time, I would recommend The Old Man and the Gun, in fact, I just recommend it anyway.
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