If Robert Redford (Captain American, Winter Soldier) does retire from acting after this film as is rumoured, he’s going out with a bang. The Old Man and the Gun follows the true story of the infamous bank robber Forrest Tucker in his later years after breaking oforrest tuckerut of 16 prisons and robbing numerous banks. It’s charming, funny, and morally ambiguous and man, I loved it.
It’s a typical, man and a gun story. With a few twists. First, the man is 76. Second, the gun isn’t loaded. Armed only with charm and a dashing smile that can still knock your socks off, Redford’s character robs maybe 10? 15? Banks in the film, (I lost count) has numerous chase scenes told in flashback alongside the 16 prison breaks, a character you sort of anticipate from a young action star but is wonderfully played by Redford. Played alongside the typical, beat-down cop John Hunt (Casey Affleck Manchester by the Sea) who endeavours to track down the ‘Over-the-hill-gang’, this film is a throw back to a classic genre, but done in a refreshing way that appeals to a newer audience.
Forrest Tucker was a character and this is played out beautifully by Redford. With a full head of hair and sharp eyes and mental wit, Redford plays Tucker as he apparently was. Charming, polite, and having the time of his life. You really connect with the character. Not in the whole, ‘yes I understand why he’s robbing a bank’ way, because the character states numerous times that he enjoys it. But in the way that he seems like a genuine guy. He falls for a beautiful lady, and the romance is subtle and nicely done so it doesn’t feel rushed or not necessary, and it sort of alters how he’s looking at the world from an outside perspective. But hey, it’s a career criminal we’re talking about here. The moral ambiguousness of Tucker is done really well and you sort of forget that he robbed banks and was in and out of prison up until his death in 2003. (Which happened in prison if you’re wondering)
The film is beautiful, it’s mainly set in 1981 and the colouring of the film reflects this. With incredible music from the period, good cinematography and the bonus of being shot like it was on 1980s film reel is incredible. With sharp cuts, old footage of Redford used in the escape portion montage and with stellar performances it really is one to see.
The film is funny, with several moments that had the audience I was with laughing out loud. Tom Waits who plays another member of the bank robbing gang with his ‘And that’s Why I hate Christmas’ story is an absolute stand-out for a side character, and for the main cast, the meeting between Tucker and Hunt is surprising, refreshingly new and so good.
I really can’t find a fault with the film. It checks all my boxes for a good watch, and yet, it still was a bit slow. Especially in the middle. No reason really why plot wise, it just seemed like the plot was going nowhere as the police were getting nowhere with the investigation, and Tucker was still having a grand-old time robbing banks. It picks up again when Tucker gets arrested (not a spoiler, this guy was in and out of prison, it was bound to have happened plot wise) and you try figure out if he’s going for the 17th escape.
Overall, I loved this film. I’m going to get it for my dad for Christmas that’s how much I enjoyed it. With a charming refreshing take on a classic genre, with amazing acting and ‘80s style filming, the only fault with The Old Man and the Gun is pacing. Armed only with charm and an unloaded pistol, Redford knocks it out the park, and this film is really one I can’t wait to see again.