catch the thieves. As he follows up past cases a pattern emerges of three old guys, one a real gent, pulling off slick heists. “It’s a funny story,” begins one officer. “Nothing funnier than armed robbery,” deadpans Hunt, thereby drawing attention to the moral tightrope the film must walk. Bob and his equally vintage accomplices (Danny Glover, Tom Waits) might be nice guys after a fashion, but they still terrorise staff into handing over other people’s hard-earned money.
Lowery (Pete’s Dragon, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), working from a story broken by David Grann in the New Yorker, gets away with it through a
SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (15)**
Dir: Boots Riley
With: Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Armie Hammer Runtime: 112 minutes
BOOTS Riley’s comedy is set in a future America where people work for lodgings and are generally at the mercy of big corporations. Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) is one such miserable worker bee. Taken on as a cold caller, Cassius is a disaster until the day he takes the advice of a colleague and puts on a “white voice”. Now attracting the attention of the management, how far can and will he go up the greasy pole? Riley, here making his feature debut as a writer-director, has some clever ideas, but as satire Sorry to Bother You is too obvious to succeed. Only Stanfield (Atlanta) and Tessa Thompson (another girlfriend role after Creed II) keep things watchable.
Dir: Malgorzata Szumowska
With: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Agnieszka Podsiadlik, Malgorzata Gorol Runtime: 90 minutes
A JURY prize winner at Berlin, this impressive Polish drama asks to what extent looks maketh the person. Mateusz Kosciukiewicz plays Jacek, one of hundreds of workers installing a giant statue of Christ to rival the one in Rio. With money in his pocket and a girlfriend, heavy metal-loving Jacek is having the time of his young life. But after a gruesome accident at work, he undergoes a life-changing operation. Traumatic enough in itself, but it is how people treat him after the op that adds to Jacek’s woes. The subtly comic Mug is a film of few words, which relies heavily on Kosciukiewicz for its success. Job done.
GFT, until December 11.
clever telling of the tale which keeps just enough back while sowing the right amount of doubt. His ultimate, not-so-secret weapon in getting the audience on side is Redford. Like the old man in Hemingway’s tale, Bob is wrestling so hard with his nature that we want him to succeed.
There are surprises still to come as Hunt goes after the trio he dubs “The Over the Hill Gang”. In one glorious scene the cop and the villain meet, Affleck going head to head with Redford as if in some light comedy version of De Niro and Pacino in Heat.
Affleck is pitch perfect as the cop who talks a cynical game but holds tight to traditional views of right and wrong. Waits and Glover shine brightly around the tale’s edges, while Spacek is plain wonderful as a woman who knows the importance of doing what you love in life, and loving what you do.
For those who have lived through the many ages of Redford, which span all the way from the 1960s (Barefoot in the Park, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) to the 1970s (The Candidate, The Way We Were, The Sting, The Great Gatsby, All the President’s Men) and beyond (All is Lost), it is hard to think this will be his last acting hurrah. Great to see him going out, once more, with all guns blazing.