The Old Man & the Gun Review
It’s the antithesis of a heist film - but a heist film nonetheless.
Forget your fancy editing and shiny digital cameras, Old Man & the Gun harks back to a bygone era of old style good story telling.As a seasoned bank robber, Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) knows his way to getting the goods, and knows that a smile and bags of charm will see him well along the way. Doing it not so much for actual spoils, Forrest does it because he can and because of the way it makes him feel. Working in cahoots with two pals, Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits), the three of them stakeout potential banks and only strike when the moment feels right.
Adapted from an article in the New Yorker written in 2003 by David Grann, Old Man & the Gun is understated and subtle - in all the right ways.
Making their way through numerous banks across America, it’s not long before a slightly defeated detective and family man, John Hunt (Casey Affleck), starts to fit together the pieces and dubs the trio ‘The Over the Hill Gang’. Realising that this group of almost pensioners is behind a string of robberies, each time managing to evade capture, John starts to track down the ringleader in an effort to be the one to bring him in.
But a chance meeting with a woman called Jewel (Sissy Spacek) starts to show Forrest that there might be something more to life other than the thrill of robbing banks and maybe that it’s time to hang up his hat. Living out in the country with her horses, Jewel’s way of life is a far cry from the excitement of strolling out of a bank with hundreds of dollars, not to mention getting away with it.
Adapted from an article in the New Yorker, written in 2003 by David Grann, Old Man & the Gun is understated and subtle - in all the right ways. Director David Lowery (A Ghost Story) has cultivated a beautifully still film, which is something of brilliance considering it’s a film based on the real life bank robberies of Forrest Tucker.
Set in the early 1980s, watching Old Man & the Gun is like watching an old heist movie that’s having its turn at being a re-run. The attention to detail is brilliant and allows both the camera and the audience to ponder the slice of life ‘action’ that unfolds. There are many moments that individually make up this film and each one has its own level of profoundness about it. It’s one of those films that makes you want to take step back and enjoy the moment. The pacing is steadily balanced throughout and uses the lives of the characters to punctuate it despite these moments being relatively uneventful - but this is what gives it its essence.
Old Man & the Gun isn’t going to be a film for everyone, but for those who are able to appreciate a slower paced film that doesn’t rely on fast action or special effects, you’re in for a treat.
Robert Redford supplies all the goods to make this film exquisitely charming with a wonderfully understated and nuanced performance. His soft and gentle smile goes a long way here and, combined with all the lovely little touches that Lowery has embedded within the film, will definitely leave you content. Supported by Danny Glover and the amazing Tom Waits, these three old timers (if it’s okay to call them that) demonstrate that real talent doesn’t need bells and whistles to shine through. And, despite having relatively small roles, Glover and Waits give the film the lift it needs, which is only enhanced by the other two main cast members. Sissy Spacek has a warmth and presence that emanates from the screen and it makes her the perfect compliment to Redford and his character. Having worked with Affleck on A Ghost Story, it comes as no surprise that Lowery has him again here. In a similarly understated role, Affleck, like the others, is able to continue the story in the simplest of ways.
Old Man & the Gun isn’t going to be a film for everyone, but for those who are able to appreciate a slower paced film that doesn’t rely on fast action or special effects, you’re in for a treat. Go for Redford’s performance and everything else is just icing on the cake.
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