This story is mostly true.
And so begins an entertaining film based on the real-life story of Forrest Tucker (beautifully played by Robert Redford), a lifelong criminal who specializes in bank robberies and prison escapes. This polite, charismatic thief is the leader of the Old Timer’s Gang, a trio of criminals that includes Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits).
Set in the early 1980s during one of the Gang’s last crime sprees across the American southwest, the storyline alternates between actual bank robberies, police chases led by Texas detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), and Tucker’s low-key love affair with Jewel (Sissy Spacek), a widow he picks up on the side of the road.
While crimes are planned and committed, there is no real violence. Tucker owns a gun, but he doesn’t fire it. Instead, he charms tellers and bank managers into handing over their cash and then leaves with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. Afterward, the victims comment on Tucker’s gentlemanly behavior.
Writer/director David Lowery succeeds in maintaining a lighthearted tone throughout most of the film. I especially enjoyed watching Jewel and Tucker flirt and spar during their dates. But the scenes with Casey Affleck move very slowly. I believe he was miscast as the detective obsessed with capturing the Gang, in particular Tucker.
At age 82, Robert Redford still manages to command the screen with his mature presence and mega-watt smile. Unfortunately, The Old Man & The Gun is his last film. In August, Redford announced his retirement from acting.
A must-see film and a fitting farewell to a movie legend!