In David Lowery‘s The Old Man and the Gun, Redford plays the real-life Forrest Tucker, a career criminal and prison escape artist. It looks and sounds like good, well-mannered fun. I don’t really believe the elderly Redford (turning 82 in August) as a hardcore bank robber, but the trick of these films is to nudge you into going along despite your reluctance. Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tika Sumpter, Tom Waits and Elisabeth Moss costar.
A couple of months ago I wrote that the last really good old-criminal movie, of course, was Phillip Borsos‘ The Grey Fox (’82). It starred Richard Farnsworth (61 during filming) as real-life bank robber Bill Miner. The tone of that film was established by Miner’s kindness and gentility, and that seems to be the idea with Lowery’s film also.
Less than two hours after those stories hit Redford’s publicist, Cindy Berger of PMK*BNC, told Deadline that any and all notions of retirements were bogus. “[Redford] is certainly not retiring now from acting because he has several projects coming down the pike,” she said.
I bought the idea of Redford playing a career thief in Peter Yates‘ The Hot Rock (’72) because he wasn’t really invested in the character, John Dortmunder. Redford was obviously cruising easy as he went through the escapist motions, plus he was only 35 and really good-looking back then.
20 years later, the 55 year-old Redford played a computer hacker in Phil Alden Robinson‘s Sneakers (’92), but his character, Martin Bishop, wasn’t a ne’er-do-well as much as a clever operator looking to play both sides.