Robert Redford Casey Affleck Sissy Spacek Danny Glover
Tom Waits Keith Carradine Tika Sumpter Elizabeth Moss
Charming, but incorrigible, Forrest Tucker’s sociopathic personality comes through when he meets a woman in a diner, and quickly wins her trust. The woman is Jewel (Spacek), a lover of the simple life, horses, and the rolling fields surrounding her property. He is evasive when she asks his name and what he does for a living, and he gives her his real name, which, at this point, is not broadcast in the stories about him, and finally lets her know that instead of “makin’ a livin’”, he believes in “livin’”. It’s obvious that he has an admirable way of blending together truth and fiction into a believable story. And like many who encounter Forrest, many suspect he is lying, but it doesn’t seem to bother them…because he’s so nice!
The truth is that Forrest is a bank robber who has been imprisoned and escaped 16 times, beginning when he was just a kid. It’s noteworthy that all the tellers who get robbed describe him as “such a gentleman”, “very polite”, a “nice-enough fellow”, and “happy.” He’s always well dressed and charming, encouraging them, and thanking them for accommodating him. He and his pals, Teddy (Glover) and Waller (Waits), manage to get away with thousands of dollars. They’re in the news, and even the police shake their heads, finding it preposterous that these old men are so capable.
Detective John Hunt (Affleck) is the beleaguered policeman charged with apprehending Tucker. Although he seems to be as obsessed with being a good policeman as Tucker is about being a good robber, he is different in his self-doubts and struggles with his occupation. His wife and superiors give him room to quit the force, but he determinedly stays on. Even when the FBI intrudes itself into the case and he has a chance to step back, he doesn’t. Then he gets a tip that tells him exactly who Forrest Tucker is.
Robert Redford pulls off this role in his usual expert fashion; probably no one else would be up to his personal aptness and level of skill. It’s rewarding to see Sissy Spacek again in a role that suits her to a T as well. Finally, Casey Affleck likewise performs as the kind of brooding character he has done so well in other films. Danny Glover and Tom Waits make great sidekicks for the Redford character. I was a bit disappointed there is not one of Tom Waits’ songs in the music. Elizabeth Moss has a wonderful cameo at the end. In a way, this film reminded me of David Mackenzie and Taylor Sheridan’s Hell or High Water in the nobility of the robber, but it kept up a level of excitement and humor a little more than is the case for this film.
The script for The Old Man & the Gunis based on a true story, which was written up for The New Yorker Magazine by David Grann, who subsequently penned the script for this film. Grann has a way of capturing his audience’s interest and maintaining suspense in his writing, just as he did for The Lost City of Z, The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, and Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. In Director David Lowery’s capable hands, the movie becomes worthy of Robert Redford’s distinguished reputation in filmmaking, and a fitting tribute if it is indeed his last acting role. Daniel Hart’s lyrical, moving score puts finishing touches on this fine production.
Charm is the name of the game in this engaging, suspenseful story.
Grade: B+ By Donna R. Copeland