Film Review: The Old Man & The Gun

Star and co-producer Robert Redford (who recently turned 82) has stated that this factually-based, at times whimsical drama will be his last movie, and if so, it’s a most pleasing way to go out.

However, other big names (Anthony Hopkins, Sean Penn, the older Clint Eastwood) announce their retirements regularly, so it’s pretty hard to believe him. Based on David Grann’s 2003 New Yorker article, this has Forrest Tucker (Redford), aged 70 or so, conducting bank robberies in the early 1980s in the most genial and gentlemanly manner possible, with much made of the lo-fi security of the time in and around Ohio and Texas.

Sometimes working with pals Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (no less than Tom Waits), the gang keep under the radar mostly due to the fact that no one suspects that such an “elderly” guy could be such a prolific criminal.

However, a rumpled, family-man detective named John Hunt (Casey Affleck) eventually puts two and two together, but not before Forrest has befriended widow Jewel (Sissy Spacek). It doesn’t quite seem as though there’s anything romantic between them (indeed he meets her totally by chance while trying to flee the cops), but they do really like each other and she is very charmed by the old villain. And why not? Redford’s eyes do still twinkle, even if his famous face is now looking rather lived-in.

Complete with a series of subtle ‘Easter eggs’ and references to Redford’s most famous films (the opening credit is a direct link to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), this is too understated to quite click as some kind of masterpiece and yet proves so damn enjoyable that it almost is anyway. Yes, they don’t make them like this anymore.

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.