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The Old Man and the Gun

In theaters October 19, 2018


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94 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , ,

After Ghost Story (2017) I swore I’d never go anywhere near another David Lowery film again. If I wanted pretentious nightmare fuel, I’d go Downtown and stare at that dead-eye “Waiting” sculpture.

Instead, The Old Man & the Gun (2018) treated me treated to a thoughtful character study on living life because it’s there to be lived and experienced. I wasn’t expecting that.

There is a dapper, elderly gentleman who wears a suit and tie and a big bright smile and robs banks because they are there. Sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, not a shot is fired and no one is hurt he hits financial institution after financial institution one by one because who doesn’t love a puzzle.  Nothing can stop him – not jail, not a family, not the threat of serious injury. Some folks jump out of airplanes, some race cars – Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) likes to rob banks. Together with cohorts, Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits), they bring robbing banks to an elevated art form (in 1981).

Not even when he meets Jewel (Sissy Spacek), does he think about stopping, because to stop is to not live, and he’d like to have both his courtship and bank robbing. Not even when a middle-aged cop, John Hunt, (Casey Affleck) who sees his own life spooling out into mediocre banality finds the spark in catching bad guys by chasing him does Forrest think about slowing down. Forrest wants to live, and John uses Forrest as his own raison d’etre.

That’s pretty much The Old Man & the Gun in a nutshell, a drama about slowing down but not giving up and chasing your dream because it’s what keeps you alive. We’re not so concerned with *how* Forrest got to be that way – not the previous larcenies or jail time, though those come up later – so we’re fully engaged in his now. It was a fully engaging and this is not my normal cup of tea. When Redford smiles, you can help but smile back, and Sissy Spacek, who just had an amazing role on Castle Rock (Hulu, 2018), lights up the screen with her own ageless spark. Both of these roles could put them in the running for Oscars next year.

Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker, this picks up towards the end of his illustrious career, though it’s left open for interpretation since good movies aren’t bogged down with things like facts. It’s smooth and seamless and endearing. You should go see it.

The Old Man & the Gun (2018) is rated PG-13 for swears. That’s it because Robert Redford is a super classy guy.

The Old Man and the Gun is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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