There’s something about the phrase “based on a true story” that makes a movie a little more exciting. Knowing that some of the scenes you are about to see actually happened just give the film a little more authenticity. Even if the script openly plays fast and loose with the facts.
The well-told story of Forrest Tucker, “The Old Man & The Gun,” delivers across the board: beautifully matched cast, an interesting plot about a bank-robbing legend, and it was set in Dallas. Check. Check. Check.
The film, rated PG-13, follows the story of Forrest Tucker (portrayed by Robert Redford), from his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and a woman (Sissy Spacek), who loves him in spite of his chosen profession.
The perfection of actor Robert Redford, in what he’s called his retirement role, has a lot to do with that statement. And a few seasoned film critics say it better than I ever could:
“The proper compliment to give The Old Man & The Gun is that it treats Robert Redford with the respect he deserves.” (New York Times); “And whether it’s really his final bow or not, Redford gives a virtuoso performance that feels like a valedictory. You want to salute him.” (Rolling Stones)
Roger Ebert gave the movie a 3.5 out of 4 stars, saying “Redford leans into this part as a natural extension of some of his most beloved characters. When he says he’s never ridden a horse before, the line plays like a joke because we can all picture the Sundance Kid atop his steed.”
And it has an 89 percent rating on Rotton Tomatoes (which is pretty darn high for those folks).
I think what I loved most about the movie is that it reminded me of my dad.
Not only would this have been a film my dad (my hero) would have absolutely loved, but I see a lot of his nuances in Forrest Tucker. And no, my dad wasn’t a criminal, but he was the kind of guy that did things because they made him feel alive: a message I am trying to live since his death earlier this year.
So while this movie is about three old men robbing banks, it’s also has a much deeper message.
And I loved it.
I hope you do too.