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Well, what do you do then?
Well, that’s a secret.
With The Old Man and the Gun, we probably say goodbye to a real film legend. According to some sources, Robert Redford wants to draw a line under his rich film career in a stylish way. In my opinion, he couldn’t have made a better choice, because in The Old Man & the Gun, he can demonstrate his charming side one last time. This 83-year-old actor conquered all the women hearts effortlessly when he was younger. And to be honest, he’s still got it. So don’t expect a gangster story full of violent bank robberies and wild chases. It’s reasonably friendly and cozy. You won’t see Forrest Tucker in the top 10 of most notorious bank robbers of all time. It was probably not all that spectacular enough for that. So, no Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Bonnie and Clyde situations, but you could call him the Houdini of detainees. According to Tucker himself, he broke out of prison 30 times. 18 of them were successful. And the most notorious was the one from San Quentin State Prison in a self-built kayak.
Apparently, from when he was young, Tucker had the irresistible urge to raid local banks. That’s also probably the reason why his marriage didn’t last long and he disappeared into the night back then. Not to get a packet of cigarettes quickly, but to satisfy that urge. Tucker always uses the same routine when robbing a bank. First, he asks for information real friendly, or he tells the clerk he wants to carry out a bank transaction. He then asks the manager or counter clerk to empty the contents of the safe or cash registers, and fill up his brown, worn, leather briefcase with it. He got away with it because they thought he was such a civilized, friendly, and polite elderly man who always smiles. He’ll probably win the prize of “most charming bank robber.”
Now, you probably ask yourself: A crime movie about bank robbers without action-rich pursuits, psychopathic hostage situations, fierce gunfights, and a number of victims. That doesn’t sound appealing or exciting. And yet, it’s a pleasure to watch this film. And that's because of the three interesting storylines where the emphasis is mainly on the relationship between the characters.
First, you have an old men’s club with Robert Redford, Danny Glover, and Tom Waits. A kind of tea party for old fellas who, instead of playing boule somewhere in a park during their retirement, prefer to roam the country and raid banks at random places. It's a friendly and easy-going little club that also prefers to reminisce over their lives at a bar somewhere. I particularly liked Tom Waits, a humorous contribution that shows that he’s not only a talented pianist. Danny Glover, I found again below par. Apparently, he’s the only one of the three where dementia had made its appearance.
Next, there’s the spontaneously growing relationship between Forrest and Jewel (Sissy “Carrie” Spacek), a widow who struggles to get by, loves her horses and spends her days at a ranch (even though her children think she should sell it). From the first moment they both meet, you just feel a certain tension. There’s that flirtatious behavior by Forrest and a shy smile from Jewel. Every time Forrest is in the presence of Jewel, you see that boyish behavior emerging for a while. And don’t you think that Sissy Spacek looks as cute as in Carrie. It seems to me that her nose is pointing up even more perky.
And finally, there’s the confrontation with John Hunt (Casey Affleck), a police detective who coincidentally is present in a bank where Forrest, in an inconspicuous manner, commits a robbery. And then he really sinks his teeth into this case and is determined to catch this serial-robber and his companions. But the more he works on this case, the more his sympathy grows for this over-friendly criminal at retirement age.
The Old Man and the Gun isn’t an action-packed film. It’s rather a slow feel-good film, calmly telling the story of this unique bank robber. It doesn’t just feel like a film of a time long past. You can also see it. Maybe it comes across as old-fashioned. But it’s nicely old-fashioned. An atmosphere that fits Robert Redford perfectly. And in essence, Redford and Forrest are equal in some areas. In their whole life, they both never gave up on something they liked the most. And what they always liked to do was done with the same dose of charm. I’ll certainly miss Redford’s charisma on the white screen.