Blue Eyes In An Ancient Land #filmreview #theoldman&thegun #robertredford

My mother loved his eyes. Robert Redford. The rest, meah, a bit too ‘pretty’ for her. She preferred a rugged film star to His Blondness. But put him together with Paul Newman and she could barely contain herself with her swooning. When The Sting appeared in 1973 she was sold. And that Scott Joplin tune; ah, did we hear that a lot?

I thought about that when we settled down to watch what Redford says will be his final picture

The Old Man & The Gun

Mum would love it, just because those eyes would, inevitably stare out from the screen; that and the fact he was playing a rogue. So what if the setting around said eyes had aged like hydrophobic tree bark? That just adds character, right?

The premise is classic Redford. And it is based on  true story. A crook is out of jail – escaped – and, with his old comrades, begins a robbery spree in backwater bank branches taking small amounts of money. Meanwhile a cop begins to suspect there’s a pattern to these seemingly small thefts and that the perp might be a rather well known crook. The chase begins. Meanwhile (2) Redford meets Sissy Spacek and falls for her and her for him. He tells her he’s a robber but she doesn’t choose to believe it and so another chase ensues.

Back when the Sting came out the set up would have us believe Redford was some sort of Robin Hood character with a heart of gold but here the film takes a modern, and better turn, showing us that despite being ‘nice’ he still terrifies those he points his gun at. Indeed he eventually faces a dilemma: does his addiction to robbery, for the thrill – for that is what it is – outweigh his growing affection for Spacek?

I’ll stop plot spoiling there.  I hold my hand up and will happily say that Spacek is a class act in whatever film she appears and her character here is beautifully well drawn. I’ll also say that I have found Redford often cold and sometimes wooden and he is far from that here. I’m no fan of Casey Affleck – another one who thinks mumbling suggests depth rather than congenital inarticulacy – but even though his part as the cop is significant I can forgive his presence. This is a consummate piece of film and if, indeed, it turns out to be Redford’s last then it is a fine swansong.

Go see for yourself…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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13 Responses to Blue Eyes In An Ancient Land #filmreview #theoldman&thegun #robertredford

  1. Mary Smith says:

    I’m with your mum on the Robert Redford and Paul Newman combo 🙂 I just might go and see this, Pete, if only for the eyes!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Mary Smith says:

    Sorry! I meant, of course, to say Geoff. Had just left a comment on Beetley Pete’s blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He was good in Spy Game with Brad Pitt.
    May well look out for this on DVD release.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m in. Did you see ‘All Is Lost’? I thought it was his best film ever..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JT Twissel says:

    I’ve seen Robert Redford in person and your mom probably wouldn’t have recognized him. He’s one of those people the camera really loves!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Geoff, my adolescent years were filled with dreams of Redford and Newman. For me, Redford won the day. I haven’t seen his latest movie yet, but you’ve convinced me it’s worth seeing. Will check it out.

    By the way, you have a cruel way with words: “So what if the setting around said eyes had aged like hydrophobic tree bark?”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Norah says:

    Hm. I was interested to read your review as Hub and I saw the movie a couple of months ago. I love Robert Redford and had high expectations of the movie. Sadly for me, it didn’t cut it. I usually love bio’s too, but I didn’t feel this one had much to make it memorable. Perhaps that’s a reflection of what the lives of many are like. The acting of both Redford and Spacek was wonderful but I sometimes wondered why they couldn’t stop smiling. A friend said of another movie that Hub and I thoroughly enjoyed, ‘I couldn’t see the point’. I guess different movies appeal to different folks. It’s a good thing there’s a variety from which to choose. I’m sorry your other commenters haven’t yet seen it. I’d love to know what they think.


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