OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

The Company You Keep

You can't escape the past

Poster art for The Company You KeepA former member of the Weather Underground (Robert Redford), wanted by the F.B.I. for his long-ago participation in a botched bank robbery in which a guard was killed, goes underground after spending decades living under an assumed name.

As he travels around the country, seeking help and information from old friends (none of whom are eager to see him), the encounters become a showcase of different acting styles as much as a review of radical history. Nick Nolte is gruff and nearly incomprehensible (but still vital); Richard Jenkins has a great bit as a bitterly intelligent, safely tenured radical history professor; and Julie Christie speaks in a rasping voice as an unreconstructed revolutionary.

Redford’s direction eschews the placid pictorialism he indulged in such movies as A River Runs Through It. This film, with its prickly characters and complicated plot, rips along with continuous tension and power. When Redford scolds Shia LaBeouf’s cocky young reporter for hollow ambition, he appears to be talking to an entire generation. He expresses the disappointment of a movement looking for heirs and finding no one.

– David Denby, The New Yorker
 

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