Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) is a helluva nice guy. Just ask any of the staff and patrons of the banks he robs. 

70 years old and refusing to go quietly into that good night, gentleman thief and escape artist Forrest and his accomplices Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits) are responsible for a string of armed robberies across Texas and the South, earning them the nickname The Over The Hill Gang and attracting the attention of police detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) who’s as captivated by Forrest’s unassuming charm and easygoing courtesy as everyone else.

But even as the cops close in on the veteran criminal, Forrest takes a last chance on love, romancing lonely widow Jewel (Sissy Spacek). It’s only a matter of time though before Forrest’s luck runs out…

Based on the “mostly true story” of real-life unrepentant bank robber and escape artist Forrest Tucker, writer/director David Lowery’s quietly elegiac The Old Man & The Gun is as gently charming as it’s super-annuated protagonist and if, as the star threatens, it proves to be Robert Redford’s last screen performance, it feels like a fitting end to an incredible career. 

As charismatic as he may be, Forrest is a cool, calculating narcissist but Redford makes him likable, heroic even, giving him a mischievous twinkle more suited to a disreputable grandfather than a career criminal and it’s almost impossible not to root for him. He’s ably supported by Affleck and Spacek who deliver quiet understated turns and the scenes between Redford and Spacek are wonderful, fizzing with a natural chemistry that makes you wish they’d been paired together years ago, their courtship funny and poignant and honest despite Forrest’s inherent dishonesty.    

Continually reinventing himself with films like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Pete’s Dragon and A Ghost Story, Lowery again shifts gear, delivering a film that’s slyly funny, moving and far from melancholy,feeling almost like a warm, sunny Autumn afternoon, he and cinematographer Joe Anderson paying nostalgic tribute to the films of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s with a grainy, muted colour palette and a jazzy score, and, as outlandish and unbelievable as Forrest’s story at times feels, Lowery has actually toned it down, Redford’s Forrest less flamboyant than the real-life Forrest.  

“I’m not talking about making a living,” Redford explains to Spacek in a statement that sums up not just Forrest’s philosophy but Lowery’s film, “I’m just talking about living.” Arguably a greater thief than Forrest Tucker ever was having been stealing our hearts for over 50 years, The Old Man & The Gun isn’t just the last hurrah for an aging outlaw but the natural culmination of Redford’s iconic career.

Movie Review: The Old Man & The Gun
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