The Hole in the Wall Gang has been replaced by the Over the Hill Gang. Robert Redford, even at age 82, has lost none of his charm and appeal. The Old Man and the Gun is based on the true story of Forrest Tucker, who just could not stop robbing banks and then breaking out of prison. Mr. Tucker was a man who loved his work. This will be Robert Redford’s last film, and he goes out in gracious and heart-warming style.
The Old Man and The Gun was all about great human chemistry. The interaction between Redford and Cissy Spacek was so genuine that you want to just have a group hug. Forrest and his two partners in crime, Waller (Tom Waits) and Teddy (Danny Glover) worked together like a friendly, well-oiled machine, with only light and respectful banter. Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who was chasing the fugitive Tucker, even managed to bond with him in one poignant scene in a cafe restroom. Lastly, John Hunter was a good, honest, hard-working cop who loved his family…a lot. His interactions between his wife (Tika Sumpter) and his two biracial kids were so loving that they almost glowed.
No shots were fired, no cars crashed in a fiery blast, no one was bludgeoned to death, and no cops shot anyone in the back. This movie was set in the 70’s with wide ties, mutton chops, plenty of polyester and not a computer or iPhone in sight. Tucker executed his felonies with such gentlemanly respect that you almost expected the Bank Managers to say, “Here, you forgot your free toaster for opening an account”. Tucker’s gun was not loaded and he wouldn’t harm a fly. After the heist that ushered in the movie, Tucker, always the gentleman, stopped to help a damsel in distress.
The rest of the movie gave us great dialogue, methodical character development, and the deepening relationship between Forrest Tucker and Jewel. That and Tucker’s absolute compulsion to keep robbing banks. As the backstory developed, we could see that he had known nothing else his entire life, being sent to prisons or reformatories over 15 times. He escaped incarceration 5 times. Good or bad, Forrest Tucker was certainly focused.
To reveal much more would spoil the plot and this is a movie that you want to see. So, how can this movie be anything but boring drudgery? Robert Redford is why. Now, he certainly gets assistance from Cissy Spacek and the always magnificent Casey Affleck, but this is Redford’s film. In my favorite Redford movies, like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and The Electric Horseman, he is always on the wrong side of the law. Robert Redford has to be one of the most lovable felons in movie acting history. There is no pretense in The Old Man and the Gun, Redford looks every year of his age, but he has lost none of his hair, smile or boyish charm. Maybe he will finally get his Best Actor Oscar.
8.0/10.0 with The Goatesian Seal Of Approval for feel-good movies