Posted by on December 6, 2018 6:00 am
Categories: Newsjones

Redford’s swansong film, in which he plays an audacious real-life bank robber, makes light of the heists but offers a sad, sweet farewell performance

Robert Redford bows out of his legendary movie-acting career at the age of 82 with this homely, folksy, feelgood-bittersweet dramedy: a slightly gussied-up version of a startling true story. Forrest Tucker, played here by Redford, was a bank robber and serial prison-escaper who around the turn of this century hit the headlines as a dapper seventysomething by pulling off a series of bank heists, always impeccably courteous and well-dressed, flashing the gun inside his jacket to the astonished bank teller who would be almost hypnotised by his casual aplomb. Tucker would often be in the company of a couple of other old rascals: they became known to chortling TV newsreaders as the The Over-the-Hill Gang.

In 2003, the New Yorker’s David Grann published a longform article/interview with Tucker in the prison where he was to die one year later. Director David Lowery, who made A Ghost Story and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, has adapted this piece, keeping Grann’s Hemingwayesque title, although the resulting movie makes Tucker a rather less sociopathic and less complex figure. It invents a love interest for him, named Jewel, played by Sissy Spacek, a woman with a picturesque ranch on which she keeps horses. In the film, Forrest has been married just once, as a young man, and now forms this romantic attachment to Jewel, with whom he is reasonably honest about his roguish living. In real life, he was married more often, and with less candour.

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