Last weekend I watched The Old Man and the Gun at the Evans Theatre. I loved it.
Forrest Tucker (played by Robert Redford) robs banks. We meet him as he’s robbing the latest one. He’s polite, he’s charming, he’s got a gun that he shows the manager (but that we don’t actually see till much later). He makes his getaway, and after he’s switched cars he spies a truck broken down on the side of the road. It’s driven by Jewel (Sissy Spacek), whom he offers a ride home (after the cop cars go screaming by, hunting a getaway car he’s no longer driving).
Forrest is in a gang with Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits). The media dubs them the Over-the-Hill Gang. They don’t seem to need to rob banks, not for the money, at least; they seem to enjoy it.
(Aside: Teddy’s tragicomic Christmas story was my favourite scene in the movie. It’s got nothing to do with the story, but it says something about his character.)
Rounding out the story is the police officer John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who is determined he’s going to be the one to nail the Over-the-Hill Gang. Will he succeed? Will our plucky anti-heroes get away with their next heist? Will Forrest and Jewel’s meet-cute turn into something deeper? Watch the movie to find out. It’s worth it.
Few things in this movie are stated outright. What appears at first glance to be an old-timey hearing aid is more likely a police-radio scanner, and this revelation makes it easier to understand how Tucker manages his getaway in the opening scenes. As mentioned, we don’t actually see his gun for quite some time, and it’s unclear by the end of the film if he’s ever even loaded it, much less fired it. One of the centrepiece heists isn’t even shown on-screen; we see a bit of the planning, a lot of hand-wringing by the Over-the-Hillers (“Can we even do it? Is it worth trying? I can’t run near as fast as I used to”, etc), and then a news report about the crime as Tucker puts the loot into its hiding place.
It’s a fun movie, a funny movie, and a sneaky, sly movie. I loved it.
I read recently that Robert Redford decided to retire after making The Old Man and the Gun because he wanted to go out on a fun movie. I think he did a fine job.