Ralph Potts reviews The Old Man and the Gun, based on the true story of Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford), from his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 93 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tom Waits
Written & Directed by: David Lowery
Music by: Daniel Hart
Based on the New Yorker Article by: David Grann
Region Code: A
Release Date: January 15, 2019
“Academy Award® Winners Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek will steal your heart in this Charming comedy about the mostly true story of Forrest Tucker (Redford) – from his daring prison escape at age 70 to an unprecedented string of bank heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who is captivated by Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and Jewel (Spacek), the woman loves him despite his criminal ways.” – 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Robert Redford is a Hollywood icon that has had meaningful success on both sides of the camera. Now, at 82 he has decided that 2018 was his time to retire. The Old Man and the Gun would be his last starring role, with him portraying real life stick-up man and life long criminal, Forrest S. Tucker. Written and directed by David Lowery, based on the New Yorker Magazine article by David Grann, the film stars Redford, Sissy Spacek, Casey Affleck, Danny Glover and Tom Waits in the primary cast. Additionally, there are cameos by the likes of Elizabeth Moss, Keith Carradine, John David Washington, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and, Robert Longstreet.
I was keenly interested in this film, not only for its story but, for its cast, most notably Redford. I really wanted to love it but, there were some problems with the writing. Given the real-life persona that Forrest Tucker was, there was ample room for storytelling. Tucker was clearly quite a character, living a life of crime and imprisonment that went back to his earliest days. The screenplay jumps in, focusing on a specific period and series of events that took place in 1981, when he was older. This was fine however, the narrative is a bit scattershot, failing to provide foundational details about Tucker, his cohorts, their relationship and some of the whys/wherefores surrounding how they got to this point.
Later in the film we get just a bit more background but, by that time the film’s most important moments have passed. Frankly, I found the story to be almost too farfetched to believe, until I did some online checking of Tucker’s life. I did enjoy Redford’s performance and the chemistry he shared with Spacek and Affleck (despite them only really sharing one scene together). The cameos are pure window dressing but, hey, who could pass up the chance to be in one of Robert Redford’s last films?
I found The Old Man and the Gun to be mildly entertaining but, couldn’t help feeling as though it was a missed opportunity on multiple levels. With a more rounded/focused central story and better fleshed out characters it could have been a five-star drama. Oh well, at least I had the chance to once again see Robert Redford grace the big screen, doing what he does so well.
The rating is for brief strong language.
AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialog Reproduction:
- DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
The Old Man and the Gun comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound.
This video presentation offers little in the way of highly polished, razor sharp images that resemble the best that high definition has to offer on Blu-ray but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Primary colors are tonally satisfying with deep blues and an inviting palette that mates well with the film’s subject matter. Complexions are texturally revealing with natural coloring that varies among the cast. Resolution is good but softer definition leaves the mid-level and wide-angle views appearing less resolvable in terms of fine detail. Close ups tend to be more revealing of subtle refinement. Blacks are not especially deep but I thought that they stood out nicely when onscreen with mixed content. Shadow detail is a mixed bag which leaves some darker scenes lacking in appreciable delineation and depth. Contrast is boldly applied which empowers colors and brighter elements without negatively impacting fidelity. Grain is evident and primarily appears in even layers that are naturally rendered throughout.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack is primarily front focused with minimal but effective use of the surround platform to extend the soundstage. The presentation is satisfying and competently conveys the elements present in the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue is primarily intelligible but could have mixed a bit higher as there were times where I had to increase the volume to make out softer spoken passages. The front three channels deliver the bulk of the sound and did so with good clarity and imaging. The surrounds and sub saw occasional use and supported the soundtrack’s elements with light spatial dimension and appropriate bass response.
- Everything Else We Shot
- Prison Cats
- On Filmmaking
- 31 Wake-Ups
- Joining the Hunt
- Audio Commentary with Writer/Director David Lowery
- Digital Copy
Based on the true story of life-time stick up man Forrest S. Tucker, The Old Man and the Gun, written/directed by David Lowery, is a well intentioned and, mildly entertaining drama that doesn’t prove to be wholly gratifying but, features a typically charming performance by star Robert Redford. It comes to Blu-ray featuring faithful high definition audio/video mated with a fair supplemental package. The Old Man and the Gun is certainly worth seeing but, keep expectations in check.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems