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The Old Man and the Gun Misfires

To stick up and rob a bank in the middle of the day takes a lot of planning, poise, and confidence. Here you are in broad daylight, surrounded by dozens of witnesses, stealing thousands of dollars, and the police are just the push of a button away. The exhilaration you can get from robbing a bank is incomprehensible (I wouldn’t know, just take a look at my wallet.)

Then there’s the elderly Forrest Tucker, played by Robert Redford, who mozies on into banks across the country, and simply asks the tellers to give him some dough with his hand placed over his coat pocket. The tellers comply every time because Forrest is such a gentleman.

Before you steal from another bank Forrest, can I grab a pillow and a blanket? Because that sounds like the dullest heist I’ve ever heard of.

Yes, Forrest is an old dude who has robbed banks across the country with his two fellow senior henchmen. Set in the 80’s, Forrest and the crew have gotten away with their crimes because there are no cameras in the banks and they rob them with kindness.

The police have never followed up on cases related to Forrest, until he jacks the wrong joint in the town of Detective John Hunt, played by Casey Affleck. For the first time throughout Forrest’s career of stealing moola, Hunt plans to give this old man his medicine (well other than what he’s prescribed by his doctor to take.)

At 82, Redford has announced that this is the last film he will ever act in, which brings a near 60 year career to an end. The actor, director, and producer has made an everlasting impact on film with his legendary roles in classics such as The Natural, All the President’s Men, and The Way We Were. Redford is also responsible for the creation of the internationally known Sundance Film Festival, which showcases a variety of independent films, with some who gain enough recognition to eventually hit mainstream theaters or generate Oscar buzz.

As a culmination of all Redford has done for movies, you’d think he’d go out with something miraculous. The Old Man & The Gun is supposed to serve as a swan song to Redford’s legacy, but it really serves as an hour and a half nap.

Somehow, director David Lowery managed to make a bank heist movie just as exciting as filling out a form for an AARP card (don’t worry, you’ll find out what that is once you order your first pair of Depends.)

This film is boring in every sense of the word from the story down to the cinematography. First, the story makes no sense. Forrest casually walks into banks and asks for money like a sandwich in Subway. Okay sure, maybe it worked one time, but for this strategy to work multiple times is preposterous. If a guy like Forrest held me up at gunpoint, I could probably walk down to the police station and grab the fuzz before he’d pull the trigger.

To complement the lackluster story, the music by Daniel Hart isn’t even suitable enough to play in an elevator. While Forrest jacks these places, Hart decides to play strings in the background. Music in film has the power to make the dullest things seem climatic, but Hart’s tunes made me feel like I was at a funeral.

The cinematography by Joe Anderson is bland too. The camerawork is meant to give an authentic 80’s look, but it really looks as exciting as a dated PBS documentary. Every shot reminded me of a dusty old painting that hangs behind the counter of a thrift store in my hometown, which hasn’t been sold for years.

Casey Affleck’s performance serves as the cherry on top to this monotonous trip to dullsville. Not only is everything else in this film lifeless, but Tisha Blood managed to cast the dryest actor in Hollywood. Every film Affleck acts in, he is the stodgiest person on the cast and this film serves as a testament to that.

For example, when Affleck’s character receives groundbreaking news on the case to catch Forrest, he goes back to bed and sleeps for the rest of the day. Throughout, I just wanted to bust out a cane and yell, “DO SOMETHING!” at the screen when Affleck appeared.

Remarkably, Lowery managed to misfire in every aspect of The Old Man & The Gun. In the trailers, it’s marketed as a fun concept with an incredible cast.

Instead, the film robs us of time, money, and a high note to end Redford’s incredible career.