After a career spanning more than 50 years and an even longer list of diverse roles, Robert Redford has hung up his acting gloves with his swan song The Old Man and The Gun.

The film is a biopic of Forrest Tucker (Redford), a criminal who spent his life in and out of prison from the ripe age of 15 and achieved notoriety in the late seventies/early eighties with a string of bank robberies he committed with fellow members of the media-coined ‘Over the Hill Gang’.

The Old Man and The Gun follows Tucker through these last major crimes in the twilight of his prime, as well as the attempts by Detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) to track down the peculiarly friendly bank robber, and Tucker’s blossoming relationship with a rancher and widow named Jewel (Sissy Spacek).

Clearly the main drawcard of the film is Redford giving his final performance on the big screen, and fans and newcomers alike will find his portrayal of Tucker to be one of the standouts of the year. A man notorious not only for his crimes but also for his incredibly friendly and respectful demeanour towards the bank tellers he’s robbing, Redford invests Tucker with an infectious charisma. The man behind the myth is more deeply investigated through the scenes he shares with Spacek, and the actor manages to prevent some of the darker moments in the third act from jarring with the happy-go-lucky tone of the rest of the film.

Director and screenwriter David Lowery’s snappy and quirky filmmaking accentuate the entertainment value of Redford’s performance. This is Lowery’s most sprightly and energetic film to date (after the beautifully quiet and reflective A Ghost Story last year), and it’s evident he loved having such a wild story to work with.

The camerawork in many of scenes reflects Tucker’s personality, from snappy transitions between different crimes in fun and energetic sequences, to a rough and scattered car chase when things aren’t going too well for the fugitive. Lowery has a keen eye for ensuring the filmmaking reflects the tone of a scene and, when paired with a wonderfully up-tempo jazzy score from longtime collaborator Daniel Hart, manages to keep the audience enthralled throughout.

The Old Man and The Gun is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable films of the year, and while it’s bittersweet to see a Hollywood legend step out of the limelight, it’s heartening to see Robert Redford loving every single minute of his final outing.

star 4 and a halfIn cinemas: November 15, 2018
Starring: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck
Directed by: David Lowery