Feb 13, 2019
Garrett’s back with another review, this time for a Golden Globe nominee from Hollywood auteur David Lowery. I’ll admit, I tore up his last feature film, “A Ghost Story” (Episode #010), mostly because I couldn’t stand watching Rooney Mara grief eat as much as I enjoyed the rest of the themes at play. However, there’s no question he has talent, and I’ll let Garrett expound upon that in a little bit. To check out our other award nominees (and winners), head over to onemoviepunch.com and search on the Golden Globes and Oscars blog tags. But for right now, here’s a quick promo, followed by the review.
Take it away, Garrett!
My name is Garrett Wright and I co-host Two Views Movies podcast along with my friend Carson Graff. We are a spoiler-filled podcast by two guys who love watching movies almost as much as we love arguing about them. Our weekly podcast features reviews of new releases, retro reviews of older favorites, obscure top 5 lists, and our two views of all things movies. You can find our podcast on all major platforms and at TwoViewsMovies.com where you can also find spoiler-free written reviews of the movies we watch. I’m thrilled to be the guest for today’s episode. You can follow me on Twitter at @TwoViewsGarrett and the podcast on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at the username @TwoViewsMovies.
Today’s movie is “The Old Man & the Gun”, the mostly true crime drama directed and written by David Lowery and based on the New Yorker article by David Grann. “The Old Man & the Gun” is the mostly true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), from his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are a detective (Casey Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and a woman (Sissy Spacek), who loves him in spite of his chosen profession.
All spoilers have been captured and thrown in lock up, so keep on listening...
“The Old Man & the Gun”is peak Robert Redford. A film about a man so charismatic that even as a serial bank robber, you can’t help but be captivated by his charm. Billed as Robert Redford’s last acting role, it is impossible to not view the entire film through this prism. Director David Lowery clearly reshaped the New Yorker story written by David Grann in order to soften the main character and fit Redford’s persona. And with nods to, and footage from, Redford’s previous films, “The Old Man & the Gun”is an encapsulation of all things Redford — from his films to his personality.
Every aspect of this film has been crafted by David Lowery to feel as though it is *from* the early 80’s as opposed to simply being set in that time period. Lowery’s use of 16mm film gives the picture a grainy texture that has long been overtaken by the sharp, sterile pictures of modern digital filmmaking. Beyond the visuals and obvious style choices, the narrative structure and pacing of the film harken back to the classic Redford films of yesteryear. It is by no means a fast movie, but it also never screeches to a grinding halt by leaning too far into the melodrama as most movies of that era are inclined to do. It is deliberate in its storytelling and moves in lockstep with the calm confidence of its leading man.
Robert Redford is truly a king of cinema. Not much more can be written about him that hasn’t been covered thousands of times over. The man is pure charisma in the form of a human being and can communicate so much without ever saying a word. “The Old Man & the Gun”is undoubtedly a Redford vehicle first and foremost. But it is the addition of Sissy Spacek that provides an escape from the repetitive bank robberies. The moments with Spacek and Redford feel so natural that it is like you are eavesdropping on a real conversation as opposed to watching a scripted scene. These moments are so genuine that even a mundane conversation over a cup of coffee is endearing and reminiscent of high school sweethearts sharing a milkshake. Tucker’s “Over the Hill Gang” trio is rounded out by Danny Glover and Tom Waits who are resigned to bit roles with little impact to the story. Casey Affleck adds to his already impressive supporting actor resume with a subtly nuanced performance as detective John Hunt — the man tasked with tracking down the Over the Hill Gang.
“The Old Man & the Gun” manages to feel entirely wholesome despite being a story of an outlaw bank robber. It is sweet in all the right ways and is balanced out by the vintage grittiness of both the visuals and the story which prevent it from being saccharine. If this is indeed Robert Redford’s last film, it feels like the perfect embodiment of his style and a fitting capstone to an illustrious career. But when the character Forrest Tucker says “It’s not about making a living, it’s about living” in regards to robbing banks, you can’t help but feel it’s really Robert Redford talking about acting. The only way for each of these men to live is to be doing what they love.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% (Certified Fresh)
One Movie Punch: 7.3/10
The Old Man & the Gun was released in 2018, is rated PG-13, and is currently available to rent and purchase on digital, Blu-Ray, and DVD.
Thanks for listening to my review here at One Movie Punch. If you like what you heard – or didn’t – reach out to me on Twitter at @TwoViewsGarrett and let me know. I’ll be back soon with more reviews on One Movie Punch, but you can always find me on the Two Views Movies podcast.
I will catch you next time.