THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN (2018)

  • Release Date: 19/10/2018
  • Cast: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits
  • Director: David Lowery

The Old Man and the Gun is a delightful little film that is breezy enough to sit through without any qualms and entertaining enough to linger in your memory and merit a recommendation. Robert Redford plays Forrest Tucker, a man who has spent his life in and out of prison. He has had 16 successful escapes from the prison and is 70 now. Even at that age, he takes to robbing banks with the help of 2 accomplices who are nearly as old as he is. Everything seems to be going as per plan until Forrest meets Jewel (Sissy Spacek) and soon finds himself falling in love with her that not only results in some interesting drama but also presents a different path for him to walk on. What happens next forms the crux of the narrative.

The Old Man and The Gun is a heist film with some major differences from what we are used to in a heist film. There are no elaborate planning and staging sequences. The robberies are, on the contrary, minuscule as Forrest and his friends only pick up petty cash waving nothing but a gun at the counter and that too keeping their manners intact. However, when the cops led by John Hunt (Casey Affleck) trace back the timeline of these robberies they along with us, the audiences, realize the magnitude of their crimes.

This film concentrates more on the inner workings of Forrest than anything else. He shows himself to be a self-sure and happy man who is at peace with what he is doing but the manner in which he stares at Jewel and so much more in his gait and mannerisms including the twinkle in his eyes tells us that he is looking for something that he hasn’t found yet. Soon we see him doing things that shows us a different side of the man. These scenes, especially the one in which he visits a bank to ask about how he could clear out a friend’s mortgage is wonderfully envisioned and executed.

The film reaches a befitting climax when Forrest’s love story doesn’t go as expected. Even after that, the manner in which he deals with the situation and holds his own in the presence of Jewel is beautifully executed. I just loved the sequence between the two in jail where Forrest recollects all the 16 escapes and the manner in which it is spelled out. That is where I thought the film would end but it doesn’t. The next few minutes made this film that much more likable for me. Finally, Forrest’s story ends on a note that leaves him as a yet un-decoded enigma.

Robert Redford has announced that this would be his last acting role and if that turns out to be the case, he has done an exceptional job in his last role. He is charismatic beyond compare and the bits that he shares with Sissy Spacek are both warm and romantic. I wasn’t even aware that romance could be shown this subtly and effectively between two aging souls but David Lowery does a great job with it. Their passion and excitement for each other’s company feel real and that adds a lot more to the whole bit. Casey Affleck plays a disillusioned cop who does finally get the better of Forrest and he does as good a job with the character as he possibly could.

Sissy Spacek is likable and wonderful in a role that suits her persona. She feels like a lady who would be swept off her feet by a ruggedly handsome and devilish Redford and that I believe adds to the believability of her character. I hated her for what she did to the man in the climax and that just shows how much I was engrossed in their act which makes it a victory for their craft. Danny Glover and Tom Waits as Forrest’s associates are investing and occasionally funny.

Overall, The Old Man and the Gun is an enjoyable fare that has its heart in the right place. With stellar turns from Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek, the film has all the fuel it needs run full throttle. Add to that an interesting story, brisk pacing and superb direction and you have a film that is immensely watchable and entertaining.

Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)

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