The Old Man and the Gun

Directed by David Lowery best known for 2013’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and 2016’s Pete’s Dragon, The Old Man and the Gun is a beautifully crafted film based on the true life story of an aging bank robber and is truly remarkable for its entertaining and heartfelt script and top-notch acting performances. The plot follows a gentlemanly bank robber named Forrest Tucker, played by Oscar winner Robert Redford in perhaps his last role, who is reaching the end of his criminal career spanning several decades and incarcerations. He is a rather unusual bank robber in that he is always extremely polite and an overall debonair character whose charisma sparkles even as he is holding up banks. Living in Dallas, Texas when he is not on a job, Forrest begins to fall in love with a local widow named Jewel, played by Oscar winner Sissy Spacek, who at first does not believe that Forrest is actually a bank robber. In his seventies, he is still involved in bank heists working either alone or with two of his long-time partners played by Danny Glover and Tom Waits who the media refers to as The Over-the-Hill Gang. Over the course of his latest spree during the 1980s when the movie is set, a hard-working Dallas Police detective named John Hunt, played by Oscar winner Casey Affleck, makes it his personal mission to track down and arrest the elusive Forrest who has already escaped from prison a total of sixteen times over the course of his career. He is most famous for his daring escape from the California prison San Quentin using a boat that he secretly constructed while serving time for a robbery. The filmmaker does an excellent job of creating a heist movie from a bygone era, very similar to the 1967 classic Bonnie and Clyde, through the use of what looks like an older camera and relying on old-fashioned chemistry between such legends of screen as Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek. The story exudes so much charm and adventure that is sorely missing in many of today’s Blockbuster films. It does not rely on elaborate special effects or over-the-top action sequences but rather focuses on much more subtle acting performances and a simple well-written story about a compassionate criminal who is irresistible to watch. Overall, I found it to be one of the best movies in recent memory that harks back to the Golden Age of Hollywood in which the script and acting were central to the filmmaking process; if it is indeed Redford’s last work, it sure is a fitting capstone to one of the greatest acting careers of all time.

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