Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) is a 70-year-old bank robber with no intention of slowing down. Shortly after one of his heists he bumps into Jewel (Sissy Spacek) and begins a romance. But with the police hot on his heels, is he starting to get sloppy?
There is an entire subgenre of action thrillers and even heist movies that involve older actors undertaking the action. The Old Man And The Gun fulfills the expectations one would have from this kind of film. There is humour derived from the sheer audacity of the old men and a heartwarming message of never being too old to enjoy yourself and break the rules.
What distinguishes the film from its peers is a supreme artistic sensibility. David Lowery uses period authentic film stock to lend a rich grain to his action. His camera is subdued but very intimate. The feel of the small American town in the early 80s is richly invoked.
The heist themselves are portrayed with no violence but are undeniably thrilling. Daniel Hart’s score pulsates as the well-mannered tension intensifies. The film features not planning montages nor many high-speed getaways. The heists tend to go exactly according to plan. The fun is in seeing this man succeed so amicably.
The film is also a Swansong for Robert Redford. He has claimed it shall be his last film and it is a fitting end to an illustrious career. His charisma is absolutely essential to the success of this story of a gentleman bank robber. His easy-going smile and casual manner have aged beautifully from his 70s heyday. The film is a tribute to the man as well as a stunning showcase of his talent. This metanarrative sometimes manifests in knowing moments. Some old footage of young Redford used as part of the escape montage; a comment about never having ridden a horse. Indulgent perhaps, but charming.
The Old Man And The Gun is a lovely yet thrilling tale of a man’s quest to remain ever vital. David Lowery has rendered another powerfully human tale in gorgeous textural celluloid. Robert Redford couldn’t have asked for a better chance to bow out and at long last stay put.