The Old Man & the Gun is a slow burn. It’s a quiet film with no outbursts or expressions of anger or excitement. The words spoken are plain and to the point. And the cinematography is simple with not much flair.
Together, these simple elements of The Old Man & the Gun come together to create a sentimental end to Robert Redford’s acting career. If it’s actually the end, of course. But, this time, it feels like it could actually be and Redford is hanging it up so he can focus on other passions.
The Old Man & the Gun is the story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), a career criminal with a genuine love for robbing banks. What makes Tucker different is that there is no malice or contempt for him to express, and there is no inclination that he’s doing what he’s doing out of need or desperation. This story is a captivating true-crime tale, based on the real-life Forrest Tucker.
To everyone’s disbelief, the film representation of Forrest Tucker is described as a gentleman, happy, and courteous to those he robs. But, he gains the attention of John Hunt (Casey Affleck), a detective set on apprehending and bringing Tucker’s crime spree to an end.
Playing opposite of Redford is Sissy Spacek, who portrays Jewel, Tucker’s romantic interest in the film. Their relationship is of particular interest as Jewel is ignorant of Tucker’s activities, despite him joking about it early on in the film.
The Old Man & the Gun isn’t anything fancy or over-the-top. It’s a call back to simple and to-the-point storytelling on the big screen and a departure of the loud, in your face entertainment we see all too often today. Considering that it’s Redford and Spacek on screen, as well as some other older actors, this isn’t surprising.
At barely ninety minutes, this film fills its time effectively and neither feels too short nor too long, making it a comfortable and digestible viewing experience.