Tag Archives: David Lowery

The Old Man & the Gun (2018) Review

Time: 93 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Cast:
Robert Redford as Forrest Tucker
Casey Affleck as John Hunt
Danny Glover as Teddy Green
Tika Sumpter as Maureen Hunt
Tom Waits as Waller
Sissy Spacek as Jewel
Director: David Lowery

At the age of 70, Forrest Tucker (Robert Redford) makes an audacious escape from San Quentin, conducting an unprecedented string of heists that confound authorities and enchant the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck), who becomes captivated with Forrest’s commitment to his craft, and a woman (Sissy Spacek) who loves him in spite of his chosen profession.

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The Old Man & the Gun was a movie that I was interested in. Not only is it a film by David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon) and having a cast that features actors like Casey Affleck and Sissy Spacek, it’s also said to be legendary actor’s Robert Redford’s last performance. I will admit watching it, it really wasn’t quite as great as I was hoping it would be given all of what I just mentioned. However, there were still some pretty good parts to it and the movie was decent enough overall.

There’s nothing that the movie does particularly wrong, it’s just not as memorable and I wasn’t entertained/interested as I hoped I would be. I don’t even have that much to say about it except that it’s fine. You do need to go in expecting a bit of a slow burn throughout, because that’s what it really is. It took me a while for me to get really into it, after a certain point I was somewhat interested in what was going on. I guess knowing that this movie is based on a true story and real person does make the movie more interesting at least.

The cast is all around talented and great. I know that this movie is based on a true story and a true person but this role seems perfectly tailed to Robert Redford, that I can’t imagine any other actor playing that role. As the titular Old Man with a gun, he’s basically the main event and this whole movie is surrounding him, and he’s definitely the best part of the movie. While admittedly I haven’t seen a ton of his performances in his career overall, I think this might be one of his best, and a pretty good one to end his career on. Sissy Spacek is good as well as someone who ends up being Redford’s love interest, the two of them have great chemistry throughout. Now 3 time David Lowery collaborator Casey Affleck is good as the cop who’s trying to track down Robert Redford, despite the amount of scenes that he gets however, his doesn’t quite have a resolution to his story. Other actors like Danny Glover and Tom Waits (both of them playing Redford’s accomplices) do well in their roles as well.

David Lowery has proved with his past few films that he’s a really great director and The Old Man & the Gun was again directed pretty well. There’s not a lot to say about the direction all round, I guess it feels like it’s in the 1980s, the production design, costumes and editing was pretty good and it was shot well, the music choices also worked really well for the movie. It’s a very lowkey movie, with the direction not being too flashy.

The Old Man & the Gun I’d say is definitely David Lowery’s weakest movie out of the ones I’ve seen from him but still is pretty decent and isn’t bad by any means. I’d describe it as a pretty good (albeit slow) movie to watch if you’re doing something while watching it. It’s not essential viewing by any means but it might be worth checking out for the performances, especially for Robert Redford’s last performance.

A Ghost Story (2017) Review

Time: 92 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language
Cast
Casey Affleck as C
Rooney Mara as M
Director: David Lowery

In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost (Casey Affleck) returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife (Rooney Mara).

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A Ghost Story was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, mostly because of Rooney Mara’s involvement. David Lowery is a good director, giving us Pete’s Dragon and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, which were very solid movies. He reunited with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (who he worked with on Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) to create a secret independent low budget film, which happens to be A Ghost Story. I had honestly no idea what to expect going in. After seeing it finally, I have to say that A Ghost Story is a very odd movie, I can’t really compare it to any other film I’ve ever seen. Talking about this movie is difficult, because its much more of an experience than a movie. I’m not entirely sure what I watched but I can say that I liked it a lot.

As pretentious and cliché as it sounds, A Ghost Story isn’t a movie, its an experience. This movie has a very slow pace, and despite it being under 90 minutes long it can feel very long. Some scenes can go on for a long time (sometimes nothing at all is happening) but for some reason, I was still glued to the screen. There is an infamous scene involving a pie, which will ultimately will be the tester of patience for audiences. There’s also not much dialogue, in fact most of the dialogue of the whole movie takes place closer to the middle of the movie in just one scene in one monologue. That monologue without giving anything away is really something great. This film isn’t structured like a conventional movie, it doesn’t have 3 acts. It’s just following Casey Affleck’s character (who most of the time is in ghost form). As for how I actually felt about A Ghost Story, I don’t actually know what to really say. It’s very hard to describe my thoughts and feelings from it. I definitely felt something indescribable, I wouldn’t say that I was overwhelmed by it like some of the other people who have seen it though. Oddly enough I wasn’t bored once, I was completely invested in the story that David Lower was telling. I honestly can’t say that I completely know what I think of the movie overall. I might need to watch it again at some point, maybe then I’ll really get the full effect of it. What I can say is that it is a unique movie and that I was intrigued from start to finish and watching it truly was an experience.

Even though its not the focus of the movie, we get some great performances here. Rooney Mara is unsurprisingly fantastic here, she really is one of the best actresses working today. She does so well in her small screentime. She’s so convincing as someone who is in grief, the aforementioned pie scene is an example of this, the scene partly worked so well because of Rooney’s acting (on another note, this scene is one of the best representations of grief in a movie). It’s the subtlety that she infuses into her performance, her subtle facial expressions allow you to tell what her character is thinking and feeling without having to say anything. Casey Affleck does good work here, most of the time he’s under a sheet (it really is Casey under the sheet for at least the majority of the ghost’s screentime) and not saying anything but he does very well.

This film is shot in 1:33:1, so the film seemed to be in a somewhat squared frame. It somehow worked for the movie, giving it an old timely look. There are so many long unbroken takes, sometimes nothing is happening at all but for some reason I never got bored or got annoyed. There’s something so real and lonely about some of the long takes makes it so effective. The decision to have the ghost as just a figure under a bed sheet sounds incredibly silly and goofy but there’s some melancholic about it that makes it work surprisingly well. It doesn’t feel silly at all. The production design, for a low budget film ($100,000 to be precise) was actually quite good. It mostly just takes place inside this one house and it helps to convey this feeling of confinement. The transition of time was also created and edited well, making the shift in time feel seemless. The score by Daniel Hart is great, one of the best scores of the year. There’s something about David Lowery’s direction that makes the film work so well and I can’t quite pin down what it is just yet.

A Ghost Story isn’t for everyone, I can understand people who don’t really like it. It’s very slow and unconventional. As for me, although it is difficult for me to describe how I felt about the movie, upon further thought it just might be one of the best films of the year. I can see myself revisiting it and potentially appreciating it much more. I recommend seeing it but it’s not a movie that you can enjoy while having expectations, which is why I’m not telling you to expect anything. Just give it a chance, you may end up having one of the most unique and emotional experiences with a movie ever.