Film Festival Movie Review

Film Review: THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN: Redford’s Great Last Role [LFF 2018]

Robert Redford The Old Man and the Gun

LFF 2018 The Old Man and the Gun Review

The Old Man and the Gun (2018) Film Review from the 62nd Annual London Film Festival, a movie directed by David Lowery, starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits, Elizabeth Moss, Isiah Witlock Jr., Keith Carradine, John David Washington, Augustine Frizzell and Gene Jones.  

Robbing banks has never been as fun as it is in The Old Man and the Gun. Supposedly, this is Robert Redford’s final role. How great would it be if he follows in the footsteps of his character here and just keeps coming back to what he loves doing the most. This is an endearing, old-school comedy with very little thrills and drama. It’s a story that takes it as easy as possible and is relaxing to a fault.

The film isn’t a heartbreaking exploration of a man’s infinite desire for life. It also fails as heart-pumping heist thriller. It is not a clever battle between a smart cop and a smart criminal either. This is a fun, chill-out ride that lets us experience the world of the protagonist just like he does – with a smile on his face and without a single worry.

The plot is actually based on a real-life story. Robert Redford plays Forrest Tucker. He is a man who is addicted to the thrill of breaking the law. He has been doing and enjoying it all his life and he can’t stop. Casey Affleck plays the friendly, likable cop who is tasked with bringing him down. Sissiy Spacek and Tika Sumpter convincingly step in the shoes of the romantic partners of the two men. Some of the other solid supporting performances are those of Danny Glover and Elizabeth Moss.

The Passion of the Thief

Director David Lowery fills the account of the otherwise dangerous lifestyle of a crook with plenty of positive energy and feel-good vibes. If a bank is being robbed, the audience is laughing. When a criminal investigation takes place on-screen, we are grinning. Every time the main character comes up with a new idea for a crime, we get excited. Affleck and Redford largely contribute to that atmosphere. They don’t bring any intensity to their roles whatsoever. These characters are having a blast, enjoying every minute of it. Detective John Hunt (Affleck’s character) doesn’t develop any kind of bad feelings for his target. He sympathizes with him from the moment he lays eyes on a “Good Luck” note left for him.

The relationship of these two likable characters reaches is peak at a restroom, where the two face off in a hilarious exchange. On one hand It is a scene, which reminds us that we are watching people who are doing their job. But on the other, that moment shows us that they are also adventurers who are passionate enough to appreciate the uniqueness of their meeting. Both of them are looking for genuine and unforgettable thrills. They find them through each other. They fuel each other’s inspiration to get out of bed every morning.

Another nearly moving but undeniably sweet relationship, which is established at the very start of the film is that between Mr. Tucker and Jewel – his romantic interest. The two of them give the audience the closest they get to actual drama. She lets her pain over his criminal life overwhelm her on just one occasion. Otherwise, she is having the time of her life. And so do the viewers, as a matter of fact. A very memorable scene is one in which Redford’s character is about to steal a jewel that she has confessed to like. By the end of it, however, she has forced him to come back to the store and pay for it. There are other little moments like that, which intriguingly depict just how fun this guy was, despite the fact he was a criminal.

The Risks of All That Fun

The hypnotic style, pacing and mood backfires around the end of the first act. This is the part of the film when the characters are being set up and their personal lives – displayed. At that point, the story comes to a halt. There is even a prolonged scene featuring a deeply philosophical conversation. Combine that with the complete relaxation established by the cheerful score and the slow pace and falling asleep gets increasingly easy. Every character in this film is so happy all the time and at some point, viewers will feel like taking a little break for themselves too. The section where you might doze off doesn’t last for long. Very soon, the humor becomes more consistent and the editing – sharper and people in the theater will start to wake back up at that point.

Savour Redford’s Last Performance

The Old Man and the Gun is a lot of fun because of its charming performances, the intriguing situations caused by the protagonist’s bold nature and the consistently entertaining humor. It is an easy-going story, in which the few misfortunes are overcome with a smile. That is pretty much what the closing text let us know. If a scene involves drama, it concludes with a laughs-evoking moment. So, there is nothing serious about The Old Man and the Gun. You will very seriously feel the empowering energy of Redford’s Tucker. The infectious desire for life takes over not just the audience but also the protagonist’s friends and enemies. And perhaps that’s all that truly matters in the end.

Rating: 7/10

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About the author

Deyan Angelov

My name is Deyan Angelov and I am 25. I have written articles for FilmBook. I graduated from the University of London, Royal Holloway in 2014. I have worked as an air operator, sound recorder and camera operator for different TV stations. I have participated in a variety of internships at Nu Boyana Film Studios.

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