The Old Man & The Gun is a delightfully breezy, old fashioned crowd pleaser that serves as a wonderful tribute to Robert Redford’s career. In many ways his character here feels like a continuation of any of his classic film roles, from Three Days at the Condor to The Sting to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the film definitely inherits that feel with its grainy, simple staged production. Director David Lowery understands the appeal behind Redford’s fifty plus years of stardom and crafts a warm, fun send off for Redford as an actor.
Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) is a veteran bank robber who faces his own mortality as he begins a relationship with a woman (Sissy Spacek) on a chance encounter and is pursued by a family man police detective (Casey Affleck). Redford is effortlessly charming here; the “gentlemen bank robber” role fits him perfectly, and the subtext of a man who can’t stop doing what he loves is the perfect role for Redford at this stage in his career. Spacek and Redford have electric chemistry that enlighten even the simplest of scenes. Affleck is also great here; the begrudging respect that builds between him and Redford is a fun through-line to follow, and their first conversation together is undoubtably one of the film’s best scenes.
There are no huge, dramatic scenes here, and even the film’s quieter moments fit within the “warm and fuzzy” style that Lowery has chosen to adopt. This feels like the right choice here, as you can’t help but smile as you watch Redford’s clever, respectful criminal take on another adventure. As the final text rolls in, the film’s self commentary about Redford is evident; this is a man who loves what he does and doesn’t have anything to prove anymore, and I’m thrilled that he chose to sum up his career with a film like this. Grade: A