Robert Redford has directed a few movies over the years including The Legend of Bagger Vance and The Conspirator. His new film The Company You Keep has an all star cast including Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte.
Jim Grant (played by Robert Redford himself) is a widower living a peaceful life with his daughter in New York. He is also living under a new identity as he used to be a member of an underground activist movement known as Weather Underground led by Sharon Solarz ( Susan Sarandon.) The movement was responsible for a bank robbery thirty years ago and the murder of a security guard but none of the members were ever caught. Solarz decides to turn herself in after thirty years and is ironically arrested at a gas station on the way. She is taken in by the FBI and held in custody by an FBI agent called Cornelius (Terrence Howard.) Ben Shepherd (Shia LaBeouf) a journalist for a local newspaper is allowed to interview Solarz and investigate the case. While conducting the investigation he uncovers more details and secrets that the FBI somehow missed in their investigation of the robbery. Shepherd also discovers the identities of some of the other Weather Underground members including Jim Grant, Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie) and Donal (Nick Nolte.) Grant quickly learns that his past history has been exposed and he is forced to leave his daughter with a relative and go on the run. He believes he is innocent and wants to clear his name. A cat and mouse game ensues as Grant tries to flee with Shepherd and Cornelius on his tail. The Weather Underground members were Anti-Vietnam protesters and saw themselves as a family. The trailer gives the impression that their idealism was shattered after the robbery. Sharon Solarz in particular believes that turning herself in might finally give her some peace of mind and the activists are obviously troubled by the events in the past. Sometimes even virtues like idealism and passion can lead to bad actions and good intentions can lead to tragic events.
The idea of a journalist somehow solving a case the FBI, Police etc were unable to crack is a well worn movie trope. However if the movie itself is entertaining then a derivative plot is not a big problem. The Company You Keep still benefits from a strong cast, a good director and a nice angle with the underground activist aspect of the story. It’s also a rare treat to see so many veteran actors working together in the same movie. The supporting cast also includes other familiar faces including Stanley Tucci as Shepherd’s editor, Sam Elliott, Brendan Gleeson and Chris Cooper. If Redford can deliver the goods and the actors are up to their usual standards then the movie may be well worth watching. Redford is also the perfect choice to play Jim Grant as he has played a man on the run before in Sydney Pollack’s classic seventies spy thriller Three Days of the Condor. He has a nice everyman quality and is always convincing as a regular Joe Bloggs character.
Thriller fans can check out The Company You Keep when it is released on June 7th.
Take a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.