The other day I saw The Old Man and the Gun, which Robert Redford has said, at age 82, would be his last movie as an actor. If he holds to that, it's a great way to go out. The movie is a total pleasure, entertaining, intriguing and fun. It's lowkey and quiet, so don't expect fireworks, but what's there is choice. And Redford is overloaded with charm and utterly graceful, with enough edges and nooks to make the character rounded and rich. Based "mostly" on a true story, he plays a 70-year-od guy who just loves robbing banks his whole life and does it with a courteous ease. Thrown into the mix is a woman he meets by chance with whom he develops a warm rapport and relationship, helped by the fact that she has no idea what he does but thinks he's a traveling salesman. She's played by Sissy Spacek, who is so terrific that she makes Redford's character all the more engaging. The film is written and directed by David Lowery, and also features Casey Affleck as a worn-out detective who decides he's had enough of being worn-out and decides to figure out what's going on with all these local robberies.
The review aside --
I completely can understand why Robert Redford at 82 wants to retire. Fair enough, and his choice, and it's well-earned, and it's terrific finale. But, man, is he so good here, and you'd love to see more. His last few movies (all starring roles, which is stunning for his age) have seemingly gotten better and richer. In All is Lost, for that matter, he was the only person in the movie, lost at sea, and was compelling throughout. While I certainly do expect him to stay retired, the good thing about actors (in particular) saying they're retired is that it's not a legal requirement to stick by that or you get penalized. If a great script comes along, actors have been known to return. One can hope.
I'll add too that almost as much a pleasure for me in this film was seeing Sissy Spacek. It's one thing for Robert Redford to still be starring -- he's Robert Redford. She however hasn't been on screen remotely as much, as is the case with all actors over time, especially actresses. And as wonderful and natural as she is, and much as I love her acting, I was happy to see it for a separate reason. I have two friends who worked with her at totally different periods in her career -- one, shortly after Coal Miner's Daughter at the peak of her career, and the other, about 10 years ago, and both independently said what a joy of a person she was and told endearing stories. So, it's great to see her in such an excellent role that's high profile.
Here's the trailer. It actually does a good job getting across the sensibility of the film and the storyline -- just know that there are other layers and directions of the story that make it all better.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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