The Old Man and the Gun
Up-and-coming American director David Lowery, best known for last year’s metaphysical drama A Ghost Story, has made a sweet and wholesome feature with The Old Man and the Gun.
Based on the New Yorker article by David Grann detailing the real-life prison escapades of Forrest Tucker, the film stars Hollywood heartthrob Robert Redford – in what is claimed to be his final movie – as the wily bank robber. The actor is an excellent fit as the charismatic gentleman who enters a bank, reveals the gun inside his jacket unthreateningly and withdraws the desired cash amount. Tucker is so nifty at this that he even manages to rob the bank that Detective John Hunt (played by a sleepily mumbling Casey Affleck) is visiting. With his fellow senior friends, Teddy (Donald Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits) the trio manage to rob several establishments with the smallest efforts in disguise: a fake moustache and Tucker’s earpiece tuned into the police radio. Together they manage to rob 93 banks in two years. According to the ringleader, he escaped prison “18 times successfully and 12 times unsuccessfully” in a number of bank heists spanning more than six decades; his last capture was in 1999.
The enigmatic master of bank heists meets and falls for Jewell Centers, (portrayed gracefully by Sissy Spacek) his last life partner. Their scenes together are warm, with reflective platitudes on life and ageing. The protagonist charms everyone he meets, even boldly confronting Hunt in a diner bathroom, but the detective cannot be completely positive he just met the prolific robber in so daring and unassuming a move.
Lowery presents the story with ease and it is a pleasant enough watch. The feature calls to mind other crime capers, like Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2003), in its picaresque storytelling, and the humour’s pacing is akin to that of the Coen Brothers 1987 comedy Raising Arizona. As with Lowery’s previous features, he explores the human condition here, too, when we see Tucker trying to live a normal life, but inevitably falling back into old habits.
Redford’s charm oozes out from the screen, highlighted by Daniel Hart’s musical score, the lilting jazz complementing the protagonist’s suave and steady manner, leaving you comfortably intrigued.
The Old Man and the Gun is released nationwide on 7th December 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Old Man and the Gun here: