The Company You Keep Review – A Robert Redford Film

The Company You Keep is one of the biggest and best ensemble casts I have seen in years. The talent in this film is nearly incomprehensible – Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling and Sam Elliot – and all being directed in this Robert Redford political thriller. Apologies if I missed anyone else in the film, it was like the guy getting the rich guy a coffee in the film also had an Oscar.


The Company You Keep - a Robert Redford Film
The Company You Keep – a Robert Redford Film


The film is about some old radicals that have been in hiding from the 60’s until modern time. It tells of a horrendous occurrence that happened in the 60’s and sent all these radicals into hiding and placed them on the FBI’s most wanted list. It is a screenplay adapted by Lem Dobbs, from a book by Neil Gordon and VERY loosely based on on the aftermath of the Brinks Robbery (1981) and former Weather Underground members Kathy Boudin, David Gilbert, and their child, Chesa Boudinwho was adopted by Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. I think fictional/ poetic licence has been used more in this than in Affleck’s Argo.

It is about the mistakes of youth and being caught up in that, even by association. When I look back on my youth and think of some of the things I did, if things had turned out differently, if I hung out with the wrong crowd or turned left instead of right I could be dead or in jail. Think on your mistakes of the past, then times it by about 50 and throw in some murder and this is the mistake these (now very old) kids have been on the run from. But at the time, mostly everything they did they believed in whole heartedly, but mixing with radicals and revolutionaries leads to sometimes radical outcomes.


The Company You Keep - a Robert Redford Film - Susan Sarandon
The Company You Keep – a Robert Redford Film – Susan Sarandon


I am so stoked to have Redford back on the big screen, easily one of my favourite actors and directors and for a 77yr old this guy is still smoking and bloody fit. He runs a lot and for most of the film is basically “The Fugitive”. He is playing Robert Redford in the film and while he is so loveable he plays the same character most of the time, older, wisened and more intelligent than most with a cause to prove and promote. Look, there are so many actors in this film I am going to only mention four of them, you got Redford and next up is LaBeouf. Honestly, one of his best performances, it is subtle and less teen/ Transformers. He keeps up with all these pros and never once looks inexperienced or uncomfortable and he gives his strongest and most believable performance. And his “hipster” look for this film is awesome – he has never looked hotter than as his geeky reporter look – love it.

Julie Christie, now 72, is just stunning and no shit, for a gay man at 40yrs old, I would be tempted by this beautiful cougar with such a strong personality, she is the perfect older radical hippy who still smokes and deals the weed. It was a reunion of a golden age of actors and I was loving it. And out of every single one of them in the film, Susan Sarandon, who has one of the smallest roles, steals the entire film. The ten minutes we get with her were stronger than the rest combined. She is a master of the lens and just hypnotised me. She could have been the female Hannibal Lecter the way she played that part but she wasn’t, she was a housewife with a very sad past and a conscience being eaten away. I have to give a special mention to Nick Nolte, those vocal chords of his are so far gone he will need to be subtitled sometime soon.


The Company You Keep - a Robert Redford Film - Julie Christie
The Company You Keep – a Robert Redford Film – Julie Christie


One of the most beautiful things about this film is that it embraces the age and wrinkles of the older cast and it makes it more sexy. Redford and Christie have aged so well and Redford is literally a walking prune with blonde hair and blue eyes but it lent so much more to the screen and even more so for Christie, it showed that she was still a radical at heart but lived in the skin and age of her being – I was so impressed by this aspect of the film. The oldies getting down – just thank GOD we didn’t see a sex scene haha.

The film is political, it is strong and it starts so incredibly well that I was expecting a remake of The Fugitive with a political agenda but slowly and ever so slowly the screenplay falls behind the talent of the cast. It builds and builds but the climax kind of lost its go power as much as a 77yr old Redford would have if we were given a sex scene. It wasn’t a bad ending but it did not compliment the build up or the talent performing it. It was unsatisfying. Do not get me wrong, it was enjoyable and a melancholic reminiscence of the lost time of a very close US revolution around Vietnam. It is damned interesting and the film has a great pace and strong intelligence but it let me down at the end and was a little bit too glossy.


The Company You Keep - a Robert Redford Film - Shia LaBeouf
The Company You Keep – a Robert Redford Film – Shia LaBeouf


The Company You Keep releases tomorrow April 18th in Australia – I award it 7 out of 10 Redford prunes and recommend you see it for the showcase of actors.


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