Film Review: The Old Man And The Gun (2018)

I had never heard of this film, but reading through the TV guide, I spotted the cast. Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Keith Carradine. They were all pretty old by 2018 when this film was released, and they had been brought together to film this true story of one of America’s most prolific bank robbers and prison escapers, Forrest Tucker.

Free to watch, so why not?

Most of the film is set during the 1980s, with minimal flashbacks to establish some of the back story. Forrest is a gentleman bank robber. He passes notes across the counter, telling the clerk there is a bank robbery in progress, and he has a gun. Sometimes, he shows the gun, just to convince them he is serious. They are usually bemused. Here is a smartly dressed old man, smiling and affable, yet he is robbing their bank. They fill his case with money, and he strolls out tipping his hat and smiling as he goes.

We see Forrest carrying out some meticulous planning. For bigger jobs, he takes along his sidekicks to help with diversions, driving, or just carrying the loot. He appears to have no wife, and no romantic connection that stops him traversing the country to carry out robberies in many different states.

Then one day, he meets an elderly widow, Jewel. (Spacek) He likes her from the start, and she obviously likes him. Her car has broken down, and he gives her a lift home, discovering that she lives on a heavily-mortgaged horse ranch. She could sell, but loves her horses enough to want to stay.

What follows is a gentle film, as gentle as the bank robber, Forrest. There are no shoot-outs, and the only car chases are short, and in flashback. Forrest cannot stop himself robbing banks. Despite falling for Jewel, he continues his crime spree, and comes to the notice of Dallas detective, John Hunt. (Casey Affleck) He slowly begins to put the pieces together, and is soon on the trail of the elusive Forrest and his cronies. Then the FBI gets involved, and the search is on.

Okay, with no spoilers, that’s about it. Redford gives an easy, almost sleepy performance as Forrest. He is very ‘Redford’ throughout, and his role is not too taxing. Danny Glover and Tom Waits do solid jobs as his occasional partners, and Sissy Spacek is perfectly cast as the elderly love interest. For me, Casey Affleck stood out, as the determined cop who is actually thinking of quitting the force, but his enthusiasm is rekindled by his hunt for the gang of old guys. I think he is constantly underrated, and should get more starring roles. And the always reliable Elizabeth Moss makes the very best of a small role as the daughter Forrest never knew he had.

Don’t expect any excitement, and you won’t be disappointed. Just enjoy some old actors close to the end of their careers, and a couple of young ones who have much more to offer yet.

36 thoughts on “Film Review: The Old Man And The Gun (2018)

  1. Thanks for the review Pete. I’ll definitely give it a go. I watched the Redford film “All is well” that John referred to. It was so impressive.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent review. I love Robert Redford. I am still attracted to his relaxed demeanor, though not so much to him physically anymore. He hasn’t aged gracefully, but he is still a wonderful actor. I rarely watch Redford films these days. I will watch this one though, thanks to your review. BTW…I couldn’t agree more about Casey Affleck. He’s a great actor that doesn’t get enough attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Pam. Redford breezes through this in his usual style, but he was born to play Forrest, undoubtedly. (I might like to have seen Gene Hackman in the role if he hadn’t retired.)
      You may like to see this, what the real gang acually looked like.
      https://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/old-man-and-the-gun/
      Nice to see you again, by the way. I have missed your posts, as I always look forward to them.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to give this one a watch, Pete…I heard it was a bit of a meditation on aging, and the pace was’t going to sit for many…have you seen his film “All Is Well” from a few years earlier? He’s the only person in the entire film and it’s terrific! A boater lost at sea trying to survive…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I have seen that, and it’s very good indeed. This film isn’t ‘great’, but watching it from my old man’s perspective, I found it relateable and effective. The slow pace worked for me too, and the casting is some of the best I have seen in a long time.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

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