The Old Man & The Gun (AU - M/UK - 12A/US - PG-13)

In A Word: Charming

TheOldManAndTheGun


Robert Redford plays Forrest Tucker in The Old Man & The Gun. PICTURE: Eric Zachanowich © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

 

"Films of this genre often have a tendency to glorify the criminal life and The Old Man & The Gun certainly blurs the line between good and bad. However, Tucker’s love interest, Jewel, provides a moral anchor with a clear stance on what is right and wrong. This creates a fascinating dilemma for Tucker in choosing between a life of romance with Jewel or to continue with his first love, a life of crime."

The time-old tale of cops and robbers is given new twist in The Old Man & The Gun. This time, however, the film is less focused on the line between good and bad, right and wrong but instead on what it means to live a joyful life to the full - even if that means robbing banks.  

At 82 years of age, Robert Redford shows no sign of slowing down. This veteran of the screen brings his winning smile and timeless charm to the true story of the “gentleman” bank robber Forrest Tucker. Forrest is an incorrigible criminal who robs banks, not with violence, but with wit and charisma. His joyful dedication to his “work” is matched only by Tucker’s amorous pursuit of Jewel (Sissy Spacek) whom he flirts with in between jobs. 

In contrast to this portrait of happiness (despite Tucker’s age and chosen career), Casey Affleck plays John Hunt, a disillusioned policeman in the robbery division, who, at the age of just 40, feels that his life is meaningless and tedious. When Tucker robs a bank right under Hunt’s nose, the dour policeman begins to shift from a life of apathy to one of renewed purpose. Now the game is afoot and both the players are invigorated to pursue their work and relationships to the fullest.

Writer/director David Lowery (Pete’s Dragon) weaves several threads of wisdom into the film. Chief among them is the idea that happiness resides in the pursuit of a goal not the acquisition of the goal. Redford’s character is a testament to this philosophy as it is clear, with more than enough money to last a lifetime, he is driven by the continual thrill of committing his crimes. Tucker’s greatest gift is that he imparts this joy to his nemesis Hunt.

Paired with this idea is the ever-present theme of age and death. It is no accident that Tucker’s house is located opposite a cemetery; the character is one who stares death in the face and choses to nonetheless passionately pursue life.

Films of this genre often have a tendency to glorify the criminal life and The Old Man & The Gun certainly blurs the line between good and bad. However, Tucker’s love interest, Jewel, provides a moral anchor with a clear stance on what is right and wrong. This creates a fascinating dilemma for Tucker in choosing between a life of romance with Jewel or to continue with his first love, a life of crime.

The Old Man & The Gun features actors of the highest calibre playing complex characters and a clever script. The action with these cops and robbers is not fought with guns on the street but instead on the much more profound battlefield of the mind. In this fight, the winners are those who choose to live with joy, passion and purpose.