Based on a true story, “The Old Man & the Gun” tells the tale of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), a thief who’s been robbing since he was just a boy and has escaped from over 16 prisons, his most famous being his escape from San Quentin Prison at the age of 70. With only a revolver in his coat, a single hearing aid and just a smile, he charms his way across a string of bank robberies as the police try and apprehend this odd gentleman criminal. The movie also stars Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Casey Affleck.
“The Old Man & the Gun” is less of a drama and more of a romantic tale. Not romance in the ‘love’ sort of way—though there is a romance that blooms within the story between Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek’s characters—I mean romantic in the sense of the story follows a man who has an idealized view of the world who just wants to live his life. Forrest Tucker enjoys the thrill of robbing more than what he has to gain from it. Because even when he robs a person, his charisma leaves them more wooed then scared. That’s the part I enjoyed about this film. It’s a classic tale of a man with a heart of gold who’s more focused on living life than the stresses in the world—something I’m sure all of us want.
Robert Redford was a complete gem throughout the movie. Any scene when he’s conducting a robbery is the highlight of the film. And if you consider yourself a fan of Redford’s work, you might be saddened to learn that this is his last film. He has done a cameo and some narration in a few recent projects, but as of now, this is supposedly the last time he’ll appear in a starring role.
Another thing I enjoyed is how the film looks. The film is set in the early 1980s, and it looks like it was shot there. The overall color of the movie has an old film grain look to it, like something you would see from a film in the 80s. The set designs, the clothes, the cars, even the props all accurately set the tone for the era.
My main flaw with the film, however, is its lack of action. Like I said before, any scene which has Robert Redford acting out the robberies are the highlights of the film, which sadly the movie needed more of. Even when we see the stories of his escapes over the years, including the famous escape from San Quentin Prison, it’s all done through montages rather than actually showing the audience the full event. Plus, a good chunk of the story is eaten up by Casey Affleck’s character, John Hunt, the officer who began the case to apprehend Tucker. His scenes are not bad, they’re well-acted and well shot, but some parts could have been trimmed.
“The Old Man & the Gun” is rated PG-13 for brief strong language. Despite a few flaws and some tedious scenes, this is still a wholesome film; the kind you would watch at night before settling in for bed. The acting and look of the film are all well done, and Robert Redford is still as charismatic as ever. It’s a shame to see Mr. Redford end his career, but like his character Forrest Tucker, he’s leaving us with a smile. The final score for “The Old Man & the Gun” is a 7 out of 10.
Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author.