Of the notable films that came out in mid-October, this film in various ways is the most notable. Filmed as if it were a B film, grainy and bluish in tone, it stars Robert Redford in what he says is his last role, having come full circle from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969— one of my favorites), to once again play a bank robber! The stellar Sissy Spacek plays his love interest, and Casey Affleck chimes in as John Hunt, the detective determined to hunt down the ‘Over the Hill Gang’ (which includes nice cameo performances by Danny Glover and Tom Waits as Forrest’s partners in crime). Forrest is a lifetime thief, from the age of 13, and had been incarcerated some 16 or more times, each of which times he escaped! Forrest is also a charmer, a gentleman, and a truly interesting study in obsessive compulsive behavior. He just can’t stop robbing banks!
This movie is based on a true story. Forrest Woody Tucker (1920-2004), was an escape artist extraordinaire including escaping from San Quentin and even Alcatraz! He just couldn’t quite robbing banks. Wiki tells us that “Tucker married three times and had two children, a boy and a girl; none of his wives knew of his criminal career until they were informed by police…Living in a retirement community in Florida, at the age of 79 and married for the third time, he robbed an estimated four banks by himself in the local community. He was finally caught in 2000 and sentenced to 13 years in jail, making him eligible for release in 2013. David Grann reported him to be imprisoned in Federal Medical Center, Fort Worth (now known as Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Worth). Tucker died in prison on May 29, 2004.”The embellishment of the story in the film sees to be the love story aspect between Redford and Spacek.
This is a very enjoyable film, with a whimsical tone to it. It raises important questions about whether inveterate criminals can at the same time be truly nice, gentlemanly folks. The real heart of the film and the best and most enjoyable dialogue takes place between Forrest and the lady he keeps sparking.
The reviews of the film have been overwhelmingly positive. For example, here is what Michael Smith says—-“The Old Man & the Gun is one of the year’s best movies, and at 93 minutes it is one of the best recent examples I can think of regarding that Roger Ebert adage: “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”
I agree…. and funny enough, the film even provides us with a cameo of a once famous shrink who encouraged anti-social activity, Dr. Timothy Leary, of Moody Blues song fame from the 70s— who famously advised ‘turn on, tune in, drop out’. Apparently, for the last 30 something years he took his own advice! If only Forrest had known when to quit. And he never quit smiling while robbing those banks. It apparently made him happy.