Review: The Old Man & The Gun

Review: The Old Man & The Gun

11th February 2019 Off By Ewan Gleadow

The Old Man and The Gun has been so quietly released into the world that I’d almost forgotten about it. Starring Robert Redford, Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek, the movie tells the true story of Forrest Tucker, a lifelong bank robber. 

David Lowery is responsible for some of the very best critically acclaimed movies which I personally find hard to warm to. For instance,  A Ghost Story, a bland and repetitive indie darling, had put some tension on whether or not this would actually be worth the watch.

However, Lowery seems to have pulled himself together after that disaster piece, and his work here shows how much he has improved. With some solid direction throughout, he shows how he can pull together a decent story, especially when given some tremendous performers to do it with.  

An all-star cast, including some excellent supporting performances from both Tom Waits and Danny Glover, provides The Old Man and The Gun with enough steam to make a minor emotional impact.

Although a focus on Forrest Tucker is to be expected, the lack of focus on the fates of other characters is a fairly big problem. Glover and Waits all but disappear by the forty-minute mark, and we just don’t hear from them again. The same goes for John David Washington, who is apparently in this movie. I was unable to spot him.

All the focus goes onto the performance of Robert Redford. 

That’s to be expected though, especially when you consider this is the final Redford movie. He’s always given his all, and it’s no exception here – where Redford really excels is in his ability to perform with minimal speech. He did this well in All is Lost and he does so again – with the added bonus of actual dialogue this time.  

The movie has a tendency to build itself up for an ending, but then continue on: when we see Redford arrested by the police, it should’ve ended there.

But, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t. It plods on for an extra twenty minutes to give us all a much happier and open ending. Interestingly enough, it’s here that the film greatly expands on the superb chemistry between Spacek and Redford, who, for the last hour, had been flirting around a romantic subplot.  

The final swansong for Redford’s career, one last superb performance that will cement his legacy as one of the greatest actors to have ever graced our screens. Some subtle nods and homages to his earliest works in classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid are also included. The final act of the film takes an almost pseudo-western approach, with Redford on horseback, a Yucatan shirt over his blood-stained suit.

A fitting end to a truly legendary performer.