The Company You Keep (2012)

Director: Robert Redford
Starring:Robert Redford, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Shia LeBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Saradon, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendand Gleeson, Sam Elliot, Stephen Root. USA. 2h 5m

Robert Redford isn’t a stranger to the director’s chair, however as much as The Company You Keep is a solid well made thriller and definitely is robust with ideas, philosophy and heavy drama, it’s just not as exciting as it could have been.

There’s a lot of interesting story to get through, but there’s not a lot of on screen action to enjoy. Hanging it’s narrative on ideas of what happens to freedom fighters and activists; after their youthful antics, when they are all settled as respectful members of society. Slowly unwinding mentally and regretfully of the bank robberies and murders of the past, do they just settle into the society they were fighting against or does the fight never end?

Kicking off with a scene, showing Susan Sharandon looking pensive at her family as her children scuttle off to school; she then heads out to get gas and is promptly arrested. Slowly other famous faces are introduced, just casual members of society all slotted in between scenes of a retro bank heist. The connection starts to show but sadly the film becomes more about a plucky reporter; acted by a fresher faced Shia LeBoef. He’s X10 more annoying than his character in Constantine. Constantly yammering and apparently using his charm to work his way around members of the FBI… Despite Sharandon turning herself in, everyone is focused on small time widowed lawyer Jim Grant (Redford) who promptly goes on the run.

You Can’t escape the Past

You can’t move for oscar winners and nominees and while everyone plays their part perfectly there are just luls and gaps in between the action which slow the movie down, when it’s clear all the talking is supposed to make us think more, instead we just end up yawning. Even when highly charged scenes kick off there’s just not enough dynamism, but is this just because everyone is 60 plus? Redford is the silver fox version of Ethan Hunt. Ditching well trained cops without breaking a sweat, he has a travel bag filled with fake ID’s and untraceable cash. His old crew are still on top of their game, with non traceable phones and still doing dodgy dealings but mostly just running dope in their retirement years.

Yeah we all die. Some of us just came back.

-Donal Fitzgerald

Somehow Redford manages to keep the film bordering on interesting and his careful control over the twisted ending, will keep you watching, if only to try and work out the emotional mysteries but you won’t be watching for enjoyment and it makes the whole experience frustrating. Generally it feels as if Redford intended to take modern filmmakers to school over how to compose a movie. While I respect this attempt to give a “real” version of a seasoned aged secret agent. Getting the dynamics between “too old for the job” and “old enough to be smarter”; just about comes together but is it entertainment? Maybe it works better on paper? Watching Redford limp around doesn’t do much for the eye, I just wanted to help him out. But didn’t we have a plucky reporter? The kid does a lot of legwork chasing Redford around slowly unraveling the plot for the audience, so why not use him to liven things up? It’s been a long time since Sneakers (1992)..

Rating: 5/10

Related: Lions for Lambs (2007), Shooter (2007), Sneakers (1992)
Lists: Terrorist Flicks
Spotlight: Robert Redford, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Nick Nolte, Susan Saradon, Richard Jenkins, Brendand Gleeson, Sam Elliot, Stephen Root.

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