THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN – Review by Susan Granger

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82 year-old Robert Redford claims this will be his final performance. If so, charismatic actor goes out with a dazzling smile. Based on David Grann’s 2003 New Yorker profile, Redford plays Forrest Tucker, a real-life con man whose greatest joy is robbing banks. It’s what he lives for!

Often working with two cohorts (Tom Waits, Danny Glover), dubbed ‘The Over-the-Hill Gang,’ he spends hours, even days, devising a plan. Then, dressed in a suit, tie and fedora, carrying a briefcase, he unobtrusively walks in, quietly asks to see the manager and politely demands cash.

There’s never any violence, and his victims often remark on what a courteous gentleman he is, always smiling.

Occasionally, he’s caught. Indeed, Tucker has spent his life breaking out of various prisons, starting with juvenile detention and including San Quentin and Alcatraz.

After one heist, Tucker evades the police by stopping to help a motorist with engine trouble. Over coffee, he becomes acquainted with Jewel (Sissy Spacek), a down-to-earth widow/rancher. Sure, they’re opposites but they have an almost combustible compatibility.

One of their most endearing scenes takes place in a mall, where he urges her to try on a bracelet and they blithely walk of the jewelry store without paying. Conscience-stricken, she insists that they return the bauble, much to his amusement.

Writer/director David Lowery makes most of the Redford/Spacek chemistry. Their scenes sizzle. And Lowery even works in glimpses of Redford in his youth. But the rest of the film is a drag.

Having worked with Casey Affleck in A Ghost Story, Lowery casts him as the brooding detective determined to capture Tucker. He’s a bore, as is his wife (Tika Sumpter). Their scenes stall. And Elisabeth Moss is wasted in a brief scene as Tucker’s estranged daughter.

FYI: Don’t confuse the character’s name Forrest Tucker with the actor from TV’s F Troop.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, The Old Man and the Gun is a melancholy, sluggish 6, yet Redford, a master at his craft, steals the show.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.