An old man at the movies plus The Old Man and the Gun equals an old man gets a nap. Seriously, how do you take a guy who robs 80-plus banks and escapes 16 times and make him boring? This is like sitting in a rocker on a front porch watching the world go by. Of itself, that is not a bad thing. You just don’t expect to pay money for it.
For those interested in local color, one of the institutions he allegedly escapes from is Lebanon Correctional. I am certain that neither Wardens Bill Dallman nor Tony Brigano would allow such a thing to occur. The film starts out that it is “mostly true.” In any case, the critics give this a better score than it deserves because Robert Redford says this is his last acting gig. I give this movie 2.5 Gavels and it receives a 90% Rotten Tomatoes rating but only a 69% Audience rating.
Detective John Hunt of the Dallas police department figures out that an over-the-hill gang commits a string of robberies. Besides their age, the common thread is that they are nice. Eventually, the FBI gets into the act. After one robbery, Forrest Tucker pulls over to help Jewel, a nice lady in a broken down pickup truck. The ruse works as the trailing police fly right on by. A friendship, or rather a courtship, begins, but the robberies continue.
Robert Redford, as Forrest Tucker, still has that twinkle in his eye, that boyish mischievousness, at 82. Not to be outdone, Sissy Spacek, as Jewel, still flashes an incredible smile at 68. Both are very good at flirting. Casey Affleck, as Detective Hunt, seems to be in post-Oscar blahs after Manchester by the Sea. Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Elisabeth Moss, and Keith Carradine have small roles.
“Old Man” isn’t hilarious or sleek. It’s mellow, like a campfire tale, or your grandpa’s stories set to whiskey,” crows the New York Post. Actually, free whiskey for the audience is a good idea. The fire and the booze assists with the snooze. Perhaps, fishing on a warm day when the fish are not biting is a better image for this movie. However you picture this flick, picture it slow. I like Redford, and I like Spacek, but this one needs a little more zing.