TIFF 2012: The Company You Keep Has a Powerful Cast But Low-Wattage Story

Posted by George Prentice on Mon, Sep 10, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Robert Redford is on the run in The Company You Keep, but does anybody really want to follow?
  • Robert Redford is on the run in The Company You Keep, but does anybody really want to follow?

Robert Redford is one of the best directors of his generation (Ordinary People, Quiz Show) and an iconic actor (The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid). And I really, really wanted to like his latest film—in which he is the director and star—The Company You Keep. But, sadly, it's not really worth keeping.

All the pieces seemed to be there. The film has a brilliant cast and a really good conceit: A young reporter (Shia LaBeouf) exposes the true identity of a former radical fugitive (Redford) after decades of living a "normal" life as a civil-rights lawyer and single father. Redford knows a thing or two about good cinematic portrayals of journalism (as the producer and star of All The President's Men) and excellent spy stories (Three Days of the Condor), but ultimately, The Company You Keep is a mystery not worth solving.

And the biggest disappointment is the misused or underused supporting cast. For being such a world-class conservationist, Redford totally wastes the talent resources of Susan Sarandon, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Julie Christie and Sam Elliott.

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