After years in hiding, ex-Weather Underground militant, Nick Sloan, a.k.a. Jim Grant, learns about his old compatriot's arrest for a bank robbery turned deadly in the 1970s, for which he is wanted as an accomplice. This puts the ambitious young local reporter, Ben Shepard, on the scent of a story that exposes Nick as well. As such, Nick goes on the run while taking his daughter to safety. With that accomplished, Nick stays one step ahead of the F.B.I. while pursuing a faint hope to clear his name. Meanwhile, Shepard digs deeper into the case as he discovers the true complexities of another times' determined ideals, even as Nick faces their consequences with another.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
Robert Redford stars with a wonderful cast of golden oldies in "The Company You Keep," a 2012 film.
Redford plays Jim Grant, an attorney and widower, who is contacted by a friend to help a former activist (Susan Sarandon). Now a housewife, she has just been arrested for the murder of a bank guard during a robbery many years earlier. At that time, she was a member of the notorious underground Weathermen group, which protested the Vietnam war, the killings at Kent State, and were part of the violence and chaos of the time. She was intending to turn herself in, but the FBI got to her first.
Grant says he can't help, but that puts an ambitious reporter, Ben Shepard (Shia LeBoeuf) onto him. It doesn't take long for Shepard to find out that Jim Grant is in reality Nick Sloan, part of the Weathermen, who has changed his identity. Grant/Sloan goes on the run, leaving his 11-year-old daughter with his brother (Chris Cooper). This tells the reporter that Sloan is not intending to go underground and take on a new identity, or he would have taken his daughter. Shepard thinks that Sloan is thing to clear his name once and for all, and is trying to locate other Weathermen in order to help him.
The cast includes, besides those listed above, Julie Christie, Stanley Tucci, Sam Elliot, Nick Nolte, and Brit Marling.
I had two major problems with this film, which was actually good if not terribly suspenseful. The first is, I was around during the era talked about in the film; and the second thing is, I remember what Robert Redford used to look like.
This film I believe is supposed to take place in the present day, yet everyone talks about these events that occurred "thirty years ago." Well, not to be picky, but "thirty years ago" is what, 1981, since the film was made in 2011. Youthful uprisings, protests against Vietnam, the Kent State killings -- I'm sorry, those happened 40-45 years ago. What happened thirty years ago? Dynasty. Ebony and Ivory. Diana and Charles got engaged. Reagan.
The second issue I had is this: Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, and Stephen Root were the right age to play aging hippies (so is Chris Cooper but he didn't play one); Christie I could buy - first of all, she's fabulously beautiful and doesn't look her age - and secondly, her character was a Jane Fonda type, so she would have been active in her early thirties, as the character still was an activist. Nick Nolte - I'm not totally convinced that his character was an activist in his late twenties and thirties.
But Robert Redford is 76. Now, I've read where people think he looks good. I think he looks every millisecond of 76. He's obviously supposed to be playing someone 10 years younger, and to me, he doesn't pull it off. And the 11-year-old daughter - I find that interesting. They cast women as mothers who in real life are one year older than the person playing their sons, but no one blinks when Redford or Eastwood have children under ten.
Unfortunately, those distractions took away from this film for me. If I hadn't lived through that time, I could have gotten into it more. I admire Robert Redford, I like that he does this type of film, but he needs a small reality check. He wasn't a hippie then, and he's not an aging hippie now.
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