‘The Old Man and the Gun’: An end to a legacy

Yuzuki Okuda and Hira Baig

In The Old Man and the Gun, director David Lowery showcases a robber with manners who takes the country by storm with his story. Robert Redford (Forrest Tucker) plays our elderly robber, who travels across the country to rob different banks in a nonchalant and gentleman-like manner, and who is overlooked by the police until one detective (Casey Affleck) steps up to solve the case. The film takes a twist on the true story of Forrest Tucker, and although lacking in important storytelling techniques, aims to be a way to let the star of the film, Robert Redford, retire with a bang.

Robert Redford is a Hollywood legend, who has been stealing the hearts of audiences for sixty years. He is currently 82 years old, entering the movie industry in his early twenties, and is rumored that he will soon leave the screen and retire.

Redford’s legacy is characterized by his anti-hero roles rather than the typical handsome-male lead. He portrays criminals and those who society looks down upon with a stereotypical view. His most famous works, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid and The Sting, have him in a controversial position where he does something that most people believe is bad, such as robbing banks, and twists the role so that the audience empathizes with his character.

For around sixty years, his on-camera facade of being a bad guy with a heart has characterized his acting career. However, his history of being the anti-hero is coming to an end with one last robbery movie, The Old Man and the Gun.

The structure of the movie itself had some of its own issues. Considering that the movie had an older and more mature audience, it’s expected to some level that there are more reflective scenes and less superficial and action-packed ones. However, many of the scenes, maybe in hope of being thought-provoking, left the viewer unfulfilled and at times confused.

Often times, the movie summed up important plot points and created scenes through text. For example, the screen had the text “he was smiling” on the screen instead of showing a scene in which he is smiling, and had the potential of being a very powerful moment. This obscure choice in production left the viewer feeling empty and cheated. It also had the effect of making the movie feel rushed and incomplete.

Even though this was the “great conclusion” of a sixty year Hollywood cinema legend, going into the theater, without any prior knowledge of the great backstory of Robert Redford, it felt weak. The movie depended on the power and reputation of Redford and seemed like they had the assumption that the whole audience was a fan of Redford and saw all of his previous films. There were many connections that the movie supplied to the audience, like quotes that were said in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and actors that had starred with him in previous films. However, as a first timer and a teenager that did not even know the existence of him, we were unable to pick up all the details, feeling left out and confused by the end of the movie.

The storyline had the potential to be very interesting considering its unique setup, but came out weak because it depended wholly on the reputation of Redford. The movie may have been interesting to the fans but did not have the strength to stand up by itself and pull in the audience.

Overall, the movie was a great ending to Redford’s 60 year legacy— if you’re familiar with it.


Link to photo – (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Redford)