TIFF Review: 'The Old Man and the Gun' is a slight, weightless but endearing ode to Robert Redford

The Old Man and the Gun Robert Redford

As far as acting send-offs go, you could do much worse than David Lowery‘s "The Old Man & The Gun," (Fox Searchlight, 9/28), a slight, a tad too-gentle, ode to Robert Redford, who has stated that this would be his last acting performance before retiring into the sunset. 
The film, clocking in at just 93 minutes, is not a tough sit by any stretch of the imagination but rather a harmless excuse to pay tribute to a Hollywood legend.

Redford, looking fantastic at 82 years of age, plays real-life bank robber Forrest Tucker, a man that escaped prison more than 16 times in his life, including once at the inescapable San Quentin prison where he built his own raft to cross the endless shore the penitentiary is known for. 

Lowery's film takes place after the 16th escape, during the early '80s, as Tucker, addicted to robbing banks his entire life, teams up for another heist with his longtime pals, played by Danny Glover, Tom Waits - he wants to empty out more vaults across throughout the Midwest before calling it a day.
Lowery, using Redford's iconic, everlasting charm, let's him glide through the film, very mild-mannered-ly in fact, as he and his AARP crew go from one bank to the next. Casey Affleck's Texan Officer Hunt is on their trail but always seems to be a step behind them, until he finally catches up ... 

An even lighter affair is a subplot involving Tucker and his new gal (an excellent Sissy Spacek), the latter of which suspects her man is lying to her about what he does for a living.
It isn't a coincidence that Tucker robs banks without flashing a gun or shooting anybody, in fact, he doesn't even need to, this is Robert Goddamn Redford and he will use his swirly good looks and unabashed charm to put the folks he robs at ease. At least that's what the film is trying to imply, and, for the most part, this heavily allegorical film does work as a tribute to the actor.  Just like his Sundance Kid back in 1969, Redford's Tucker refuses to shoot his gun and prides himself in knowing he hasn't shot or killed a single person in his six decades of outlawing.
And so "The Old Man and the Gun" chugs along, a film obviously written for Redford which uses his character's neverending passion for robbing banks as a parallel for the actor's own irresistible itch to continue acting, but retirement is on the horizon and this slight, harmless film tries to imply that sometimes you just gotta hang up those boots.