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The Old Man & the Gun

In what he says is his last film, Robert Redford reminds moviegoers why he’s a star

© Fox Searchlight Pictures / At the age of 70, Forrest Tucker makes an audacious escape from San Quentin, conducting an unprecedented string of heists that confound authorities and enchant the public.
      Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford: Our Souls at Night) loves what he does for a living. The work has never lost its thrill. It puts spring in his step and a smile on his face. Everybody sees it; people describe him as “a happy guy.”
      His secret: He robs banks for a living. 
      In Forrest’s mind, there’s nothing wrong with his job. He never points his gun at anyone, and he’s polite and friendly. Forrest isn’t afraid of jail; he’s escaped 16 incarcerations.
      A crew of old-timers — Waller (Tom Waits: The Moon’s Milk) and Teddy (Danny Glover: Ulysses: A Dark Odyssey) — helps him pull the bigger jobs. But he has no problem walking into a bank solo and collecting the till. For the most part, he and his crew have flown under the radar.
        Forrest accepted living on the run as part of the job. But widowed rancher Jewel (Sissy Spacek: Castle Rock) starts him thinking about settling down. That’s just when bored robbery detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck: A Ghost Story) picks up Forrest’s trail. 
       Can the wily robber stay one step ahead of the law without giving up the woman? Or is the law, like time, catching up with everyone eventually? 
      With its charming cast, the chemistry between Spacek and Redford and breathtaking cinematography, this is a movie about enjoying what you do at any age. Director David Lowery (A Ghost Story) crafts a movie that displays Redford’s natural charisma and talent. It all centers on his talent and ability to carry a scene.
      Lowery works with cinematographer Joe Anderson (Don’t Think Twice) to create stunning images that make the most out of Redford’s iconic image. Each shot is art, whether it captures the actor’s age-weathered face, his silhouette before sweeping vistas or his grace donning a hat as he pulls off the world’s friendliest robbery. There’s never a moment the camera doesn’t draw your eye to Redford, displaying just how wonderful he is to look at.
       In full movie-star mode, Redford proves once again why he’s one of the most enduring icons of the screen. He’s said in interviews that this will be his last role, and he does his unbeatable best to make Forrest a memorable presence. There are not a lot of deep notes for Redford to play, but he makes the most of his character’s affable nature. 
       Yes, Lowery could have dug deeper into the characters. But what he has done is make a tribute to Robert Redford’s iconography that is wonderful to see. The Old Man & the Gun is utterly satisfying.
Good Drama • PG-13 • 93 mins.
 
 
~~~ New this Week ~~~
Halloween
       Forty years ago, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) barely escaped a masked killer on Halloween night. For decades, she has feared Michael Myers’ return. She’s invested in self-defense classes, trained with firearms and built a bunker to withstand another attack. Her daughter and granddaughter think Laurie is nuts; they don’t understand her trauma and only see a badly damaged woman.
       Laurie’s paranoia is proven right when Michael Myers escapes and heads straight for her. Is she prepared to defeat him and save her family? Or is he an evil that can’t be beaten?
      It’s no secret that the sequels in the Halloween franchise pale in comparison to the original, a classic of the horror genre. This — a direct sequel to the first — aspires to erase all the others from moviegoers’ minds.
       Its focus is on coping with trauma and learning to fight back. Laurie isn’t a victim; she’s an equal who has been training for a rematch for decades. She’s a horror heroine for the #MeToo era. 
       If you’re a fan of the original slasher film, this movie should be well worth the ticket. Returning Curtis to her iconic role and the fresh take on the woman-in-peril genre should be treats. 
Prospects: Bright • R • 106 mins. 
 
The Sisters Brothers
       Eli and Charlie Sisters (John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix) are assassins for hire cavorting around the Wild West. Eli wants to settle down, while Charlie is a fan of the outlaw life who wants to make the Sisters Brothers legends in the wilds of Oregon.
       Is there more than meets the eye to their legend-making job, hunting down a gold prospector? 
       Based on a novel by Patrick DeWitt, The Sisters Brothers is a rollicking story of zany Old West antics twisted with a modern existential crisis. Reilly and Phoenix, both excellent actors, create a fantastic chemistry. If you’re a fan of Coen-esque films, this should be in the same hyper-violent comedy vein.
Prospects: Bright • R • 121 mins.