In what he says is his last acting role, Robert Redford shines as a nice guy who just happens to be a notorious bank robber

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Forrest Tucker is a man who likes robbing banks and doesn't like being locked up. 

That's the long and short of "The Old Man & the Gun," a kind of "Catch Me if You Can" for the old-timers set, with Robert Redford as the world's friendliest, most charming crook. 

The early '80s set "The Old Man & the Gun," which is based on a true story, is so breezy that in lesser hands, it would blow away with the softest gust of wind. But the 82-year-old Redford, in what he has said his final acting role, is so delightful in the lead that he makes the movie an ode to his legendary career.

Redford's Forrest is the head of what comes to be known as the Old Timer's Gang, a trio of criminals that includes his partners in crime, Waller (Tom Waits) and Teddy (Danny Glover). 

They pull bank jobs for the thrill of it, the heat on their tail (Casey Affleck is a cop determined to take Forrest down) only upping the stakes of the game. 

After an opening heist -- Forrest is so sweet he doesn't have to do much more than ask for the money -- he meets Jewel (Sissy Spacek), a widow for whom he falls. 

Their low-key love affair forms the backbone of the story, and Redford and Spacek are so natural together that they make for one of the year's best on-screen couples. 

Forrest doesn't always get away clean, and his past is littered with arrests and jail stints. But he always manages to escape, and co-writer and director David Lowery ("A Ghost Story") stages a montage of Forrest's breakouts that utilizes footage from past Redford films to glorious effect. 

In that way, "The Old Man & the Gun" makes a fitting capper to Redford's career. It's a light, warm story that's punctuated by the power of Redford's smile, one of the best special effects in movie history. 

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

'The Old Man & the Gun'  

GRADE: B

Rated PG-13  for brief strong language

Running time: 93 minutes

 

 

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