The Old Man and the Gun
Stars: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Tom Waits, Danny Glover
Although wrongly rumoured to be Robert Redford’s last role, writer-director David Lowery’s picture, his follow-up to the bold, sombre ‘Ghost Story’, nevertheless serves as an affectionate tribute to the veteran actor. Based on a true story that was chronicled in a New Yorker article, it’s an endearing romance, as well as a winning yarn, about a group of ageing bank robbers led by Redford’s Forrest Tucker, a gentlemen thief with the ability to charm the female tellers of the banks he is relieving of money - think a crustier version of George Clooney’s character in ‘Out of Sight’. His equally mature accomplices are the gruff Teddy (Glover) and the melancholy Waller (Waits). When one of Tucker’s gang’s heists is carried out under the nose of soft-spoken cop John Hunt (Affleck), Hunt, humiliated by the experience, resolves to catch them. Then, during a car chase, Tucker spots a broken down car belonging to attractive widow Jewel (Spacek) and pulls over to help, while his pursuers, amusingly, race by. A fizzing flirtation turns into a full-blown romance leading Tucker to consider his life options. Set in the early 80s, but with the rough-hewn look and freewheeling feel of the early 70s (Redford’s heyday) this is a soulful but rousing tale with charm to spare, with Spacek and Redford generating an effortless but powerful romantic chemistry that performers half their age would struggle to match. The first tentative date in a diner, in which the two grow giddy with delight in each other’s presence, is the most swooningly romantic cinematic moment of the year. Lowery keeps the story moving along at a jaunty pace and the film features a wonderful breezy jazzy score from composer Daniel Hart.