The Company You Keep @ The Ross

Jim Grant (Robert Redford)

Jim Grant (Robert Redford)

My My My. Robert Redford on the silver screen! The Sundance Kid, Hubbell, Johnny Hooker, Roy Hobbs, and … oh … well … I digress.

Redford tackles a most frenzied yet nostalgic moment in the history of anti-war activism in the United States in his newest film, The Company You Keep. Based on Neil Gordon’s novel, The Company You Keep tells the story of former members of The Weather Underground, a radical leftist anti-war group of white, middle-class students that sometimes used violence as a means for revolutionary change in the 1960s.

Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) gives up

Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) gives up

Several have eluded the FBI for 30 years until Sharon Solarz (played by Susan Sarandon) decides to turn herself in, thus initiating the manhunt for the others. Redford plays with warm-hearted though measured zeal, Jim Grant, a.k.a Nick Sloan, a Weather Underground comrade. Via a series of insightful vignettes, Redford showcases reflections from these rebels-turned-aged adults who are law-abiding citizens, even running good honest marijuana off the coast of California. Each story is relatable; who among us has not turned to the past to reflect? We just hope peace is there when we step back into the present. The cast of old school stars as his former comrades-in-arms, Julie Christie, Sam Elliott, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, and Richard Jenkins, has a sepia effect. As veterans of an entertainment industry salivating over youth, it is simply groovy when the camera closes in on the wrinkles, pot-marks, and crow’s feet, each actor wears with the dignity of an American eagle.

Mimi (Julie Christie) and Jim share a tender moment

Mimi (Julie Christie) and Jim share a tender moment

Redford resists the snap, crackle, and pop; instead, he massages Lem Dobbs’s script into a compact adventure encased in suspense and intrigue. Shia Labeouf, however, is the disappointment. He’s miscast! And his performance as Ben Shepard, the investigative reporter, is a filmic intrusion, at which you want to throw a rotten tomato, and … well …

The Ross logo

The Company You Keep plays through May 16 at The Ross in Lincoln.

Adam Leon’s independent film Gimme the Loot plays through May 9
Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers opens May 10 and plays through May 16

Friday Live! audio version @ 28:27

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