The Old Man & the Gun

Robert Redford stars as an elderly bank robber who refuses to retire in David Lowery's delightful The Old Man & the Gun

Film Review by Iana Murray | 06 Dec 2018
Film title: The Old Man & the Gun
Director: Davidy Lowery
Starring: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck
Release date: 7 Dec

It’s always good to have a hobby. Some people like knitting or collecting coins or playing sports. Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) has a peculiar hobby: robbing banks. Based on a “mostly true” story, David Lowery’s delightful The Old Man & the Gun follows the aging criminal who refuses to retire. The septuagenarian just can’t quit. He doesn’t steal out of necessity, he just loves robbing banks.

Tucker and his friends (Tom Waits and Danny Glover), dubbed the “Over the Hill Gang”, travel across the country carrying out bank heists so low-key the customers don’t notice what’s happening until it’s over. The trick is Tucker’s uncharacteristic chivalry – he compliments and consoles the bank tellers with sincerity as they empty the cash registers. Lowery regular Casey Affleck plays the police detective behind the cat-and-mouse chase, and Sissy Spacek is wonderfully sweet as the object of Tucker’s affection.

It’s hard to pin down David Lowery. He’s taken on everything from micro-budget indies to  Disney blockbusters, and The Old Man & the Gun is another 180° turn after last year’s A Ghost Story, but there is a heartwarming symmetry to be found. There are parallels in the story with Lowery’s debut Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, but the film is also a kindhearted summation of Robert Redford’s rich career, in which he propelled to instant stardom after Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Like the gentleman criminal, The Old Man & the Gun is irresistibly likeable. Shot lovingly in grainy Super 16mm film, it has a 70s feel to it, which is particularly endearing considering its veteran star was ubiquitous that decade. Whether this is Robert Redford’s final film or not, The Old Man & the Gun is a fitting swan song for the charismatic actor. This is wholesome goodness fed by the spoonful.

The Old Man & the Gun had its UK premiere at London Film Festival, and is released 7 Dec by 20th Century Fox

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