Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Old Man and the Gun

Based on the life of career criminal Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), who in his 60s (after escaping from prison yet again) put together dozens of bank heists across the country until finally being captured by the FBI, writer/director David Lowery's film offers a look at the criminal's "last hurrah" (although he would commit one more crime spree at the ripe old age of 79) and the Dallas Police Detective (Casey Affleck) instrumental in capturing him.

Redford is put to good use here as the gentlemen robber who never fires a shot (in fact, in every bank robbery sequence he alludes to, but never draws, a gun). The actor easily captures the charm of the man who robbed more for the thrill than the money, always with a smile on his face. Over the course of the film we watch Tucker rob several banks, sometimes by himself and sometimes with the help of two other elderly gentlemen (Danny Glover and Tom Waits) who gain notoriety for the four-year bank robbing spree. The movie also includes a subplot involving Tucker's interest in a widow (Sissy Spacek) who, like the previous loves of Tucker's life, never knew or believed what Tucker did for a living.

The Old Man and the Gun is a slow-paced drama that relies heavily on Redford. While his character is central to putting Tucker's achievements into context, Affleck gets the less prestigious role as a career cop and father who is able to make important connections other police officers and the FBI overlook. Tika Sumpter adds an understated role as the supportive wife as Lowry's script stays away from cliches of cops' work eating away at the family dynamic. Personally, I would have loved to have seen more of Tucker's past (the montage of prison escapes offers one of the film's best sequences), but Lowry's film certainly captures the obsession and drive of Tucker who simply can't stop himself even while staring down his own mortality.

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