First Hit: Once again Robert Redford shows why he’s one of the best in this, his swan song.
In 1994 I was standing at the United Airline's counter verifying my seat assignment. To my left was the First-Class counter and there was a gentleman standing there being served. We both left our respective customer service agents at the same time and ended up walking down the concourse together. I looked over at him and said, “where are you headed?” He smiled and said “Salt Lake City, you?” “Same” I said.
I mentioned that I was doing some work for the State of Utah and that I loved the beauty of the state. “Yeah, he said, it’s beautiful county.”
We continued walking towards our plane, but I couldn’t help but notice most of the people walking towards us were smiling and pointing at us. It was mostly women that were doing the pointing and nudging, with smiles on their faces, the person they were walking with.
I looked over at him and he looked back smiling when I said, “they must be looking at you, because I’ve never been looked at while walking in an airport." Then, as the smile creeped across his face, I said, “oh my, my mother is going to really be excited when I tell her I walked down the airport concourse with Robert Redford.” He laughed and said, “I get that a lot.”
Despite his outstanding performances as an actor, he’s never won an Oscar for acting and was nominated once for The Sting. I can tell you, that his performance as The Man in All Is Lost, is beyond amazing. He’s the only actor and the whole film is shot on a sailboat that is in distress. If you’ve never seen it, do so to watch this enigma of a man show you how to capture the whole screen all the time.
In The Old Man & The Gun, it’s been reported that this is his last film as an actor. And, as Forrest Tucker, Redford moved through this story like silk. As a lifetime bank robber he knows no other life. He’s been caught 16 previous times and escaped prison each time only to go back to the only profession that makes him happy.
We watch him rob banks by himself and with two partners, Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits). Hoping to catch the “Over the Hill Gang,” as the newspapers call them, is Police Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck).
When Forrest robs a bank, he’s kind, thoughtful, and only shows the gun to the manager or teller. He waltzes in and out, no muss no fuss. He's a gentleman at all things.
During the initial robbery, he stops during his getaway to help Jewel (Sissy Spacek) who is stranded because her truck is stranded. What the audience knows it is also a away to take the heat off himself because the cops who are chasing him—drive right past.
He likes Jewel and they began to see each other and this story line provides the film much needed grounding.
Redford as Tucker is wonderful. He fits the enigmatic way Forrest goes through his life and I can see why Redford was attracted to this character. Spacek is fantastic. She’s so grounded and fully meets Redford’s character with grace. Affleck was strong as the determined detective that also has a heart to understand Tucker. Glover and Waits were great in their small but pivotal roles. Tika Sumpter as Affleck’s wife, Maureen, was sublime. I loved how she supported Hunt. David Lowery wrote and directed a wonderful story giving Redford a wonderful platform to say goodbye.
Overall: This was a joyous romp through Forrest Tucker’s life as a robber.