Robert Redford's entertaining last stand

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The Old Man And The Gun

How does a movie icon bow out these days? With the haunting, soul-bearing Lucky, Harry Dean Stanton certainly raised the bar, but in The Old Man And The Gun, Robert Redford makes his swansong in a more accessible, tongue-in-cheek fashion. A literal tip of the hat to his heyday as the premier charming rogue of the late ’60s to mid-’70s, The Old Man And The Gun offers a crisp, 93-minute antidote to overblown Marvel superhero spectacles and weighty director “statements”.

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Based on the true story of The Over The Hill Gang, a loose trio of ageing criminals, David Lowery’s fantastically entertaining caper forgoes the backstories of his two sidekicks – no mean feat when they’re played by Tom Waits and Danny Glover – to focus on the ringleader, Forrest Tucker (Redford). Tucker is a gentleman and a thief, and after yet another successful bank raid, he meets and falls for the guileless Jewel (Sissy Spacek), to whom he recklessly confesses all. Inevitably, Jewel takes it for banter, setting the scene for a gentle but still surprisingly thrilling drama about a man living his life on the edge.

It says something about Redford’s presence that the sidelining of the likes of Waits and Glover barely registers, and that Casey Affleck’s performance as the cop on his trail feels more like a glorified cameo. Granted, we could perhaps have done with a little more of Spacek, a rare presence in the cinema these days, but The Old Man And The Gun is such a finely judged balance of light nostalgia and modern indie smarts that it doesn’t really matter. There’s lots for movie buffs, who can give themselves extra brownie points for getting the late Warren Oates’ guest spot; everyone else can just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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