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Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

OBERT RED­FORD makes his fi­nal screen ap­pear­ance be­fore re­tire­ment in David Low­ery’s gen­tly paced crime ca­per – a (mostly) true story, which is also an un­abashed valen­tine to the charis­matic lead­ing man.

Based on a 2003 ar­ti­cle of the same ti­tle in The New Yorker mag­a­zine, The Old Man & The Gun pos­sesses a sim­ple, old-fash­ioned charm epit­o­mised by the 82-year-old star at the film’s emo­tion­ally molten cen­tre.

Pho­tographed in lus­trous close-up, Red­ford be­guiles us with each glance into cam­era as real-life bank rob­ber For­rest Tucker, who ran rings around the au­thor­i­ties and es­caped from San Quentin State Prison in a ca­noe. Low­ery pays homage to his star by lov­ingly re-ap­pro­pri­at­ing footage from Red­ford’s 1966 pic­ture The Chase as one of these close brushes with the law.

“Look­ing sharp will take you a long, long way,” coos For­rest at one point.

Red­ford could al­most be re­flect­ing on his own as­cent into the pan­theon of well­heeled Hol­ly­wood greats in such clas­sics as Butch Cas­sidy And The Sun­dance Kid, The Sting, All The Pres­i­dent’s Men and Out Of Africa.

In Low­ery’s pic­ture, he dis­charges that star wattage one fi­nal time in swoon­some ex­changes with fel­low Os­car win­ner Sissy Spacek.

Di­a­logue be­tween the cou­ple is light and play­ful, kin­dling a smoul­der­ing on-screen part­ner­ship that casts a sat­is­fy­ing glow over ev­ery frame.

The film con­cen­trates on events in 1981 when For­rest pulls off a se­ries of bank rob­beries, of­ten with age­ing as­so­ciates Teddy (Danny Glover) and Waller (Tom Waits).

“He had a gun... and also, he was sort of a gen­tle­man,” one Dal­las bank em­ployee con­fesses to po­lice after For­rest ‘with­draws’ a large amount of bills from tell­ers’ draw­ers.

Dur­ing the get­away from one hold-up, For­rest evades po­lice by stop­ping to help a stranded mo­torist called Jewel (Spacek). Sparks of at­trac­tion fly over a cup of cof­fee.

Mean­while, Texas de­tec­tive John Hunt (Casey Af­fleck) be­comes fas­ci­nated by For­rest’s far from il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer on the wrong side of the law and is se­cretly re­lieved that the old timer is al­ways one step ahead of the po­lice.

“I’m sorry you didn’t catch him,” com­mis­er­ates John’s wife Mau­reen (Tika Sumpter).

“I’m not,” he re­sponds ten­derly.

The Old Man & The Gun is the cine­matic equiv­a­lent of a warm hug: com­fort­ing, heart­felt and un­de­ni­ably plea­sur­able in the mo­ment.

Low­ery’s script stages a cou­ple of tense rob­beries with aplomb but char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion al­ways takes pri­or­ity, and there is a lovely scene of ver­bal to-and-fro be­tween For­rest and John in the cor­ri­dor of a road­side diner.

Red­ford re­minds us why he has been set­ting hearts aflut­ter on screen for more than 55 years and Af­fleck is an ap­peal­ing spar­ring part­ner in a game of cat and mouse where every­one, in­clud­ing us, wins.

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