Only recently going wider after limited release, David Lowery’s “The Old Man & The Gun” is a winning, lightly whimsical evocation of both 1970s Hollywood Renaissance movies with capable codgers, but also a wry folksiness that seldom falls to simple sentiment. The seventy-year-old Forrest Tucker (the eighty-two-year-old Robert Redford, who now says this may not actually be his final acting role) escapes San Quentin and returns to his earlier life as a master of the offhanded heist. Skips and jumps in plausibility are papered over by both the based-on-fact story and the cast.
With actors like Redford, Sissy Spacek and Tom Waits (Tom Waits, actor!), banality is not on the bill of fare. (A side of corn, sure.) In his short filmography—“St. Nick,” “Aint Them Bodies Saints,” “Pete’s Dragon,” “A Ghost Story”—Lowery is a relentless editor, sculpting to the bone for brisk pace but calculated observation. Plus smiles! Robert Redford’s smile remains gentle grace. With Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter. 93m. (Ray Pride)
“The Old Man and the Gun” is playing at River East, Arclight, Landmark Century, Century Evanston and Lake.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.