The Company You Keep –Review

One of the nice things about spring is the introduction of summer movies. They seem to be coming a little bit earlier every year, with the summer season now officially kicking off in early May. In the next few weeks we will be treated to  “Iron Man 3”,  the  “Star Trek” sequel, and  “The Great Gatsby.”

I am looking forward to all of these. However,  before they arrive you can see something truly exceptional by dropping by your local art house. There you will find movies that were never expected to be blockbusters, but offer quality that  rivals Hollywood’s largest big-budget productions. One such movie opened this weekend. The movie I am talking about is called  “The Company You Keep.” It was directed by, and stars, Robert Redford. I’ve been a longtime supporter of Redford and his filmmaking. Like everyone else, he has his hits and misses, but in my opinion, he always tells an intriguing story. “The Company You Keep” is no exception. It  has been a long time since I have seen a movie of this caliber.

The first thing you notice is that the cast has a solid pedigree. Most are established veterans, others are up-and-coming newcomers who in the presence of the veterans somehow seem better.  I’m sure the internal dynamics of this accomplished group created one of the most interesting wrap parties in recent memory. (That line was actually lifted from another film review. I would give full credit to the writer except I can’t remember where I saw it.) Redford obviously still has pull, and if he’s on the other end of the phone you want to respond. Cast members include: Robert Redford, Suzanne Sarandon, Julie Christie, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte,  Shiloh La Beouf, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Sam Elliott and Stanley Tucci. Watching these actors appear on screen together was exhilarating.

The scenes flowed effortlessly. The pacing, dialogue, cinematography, and locations were flawless.

The movie focuses on the actions of a group of radicals in the 60s and 70s called the Weather Underground. This group existed primarily to protest the Vietnam War. After a bank robbery attempt goes bad and leaves a prison guard dead at the scene, the group splits up. The movie picks up 30 years later as members of the original group are leading separate lives. There is no statute of limitations on murder, and as such the FBI still considers the Michigan bank robbery an active investigation. The movie begins when Sarandon’s character,  overcome by guilt, decides to turn herself in. Before she has the chance, the FBI swoops in and makes an arrest.

From there, the lives of the Weather Underground members unravel as a young crusading journalist, played by Shiloh La Beouf, methodically uncovers the identities of the participants, and the secrets they hold.

Guaranteed to be thought-provoking I felt it handled the delicate subject matter deftly. Especially since the movie had the ill-fated timing of opening so close to the recent bombing in Boston.

I absolutely loved this film. If you’re looking for the typical action-adventure movie where things are blown up, then I suggest  “Star Trek” or  “Iron Man 3” which opens today.  I doubt that either will disappoint. However, if you’re looking for a thought-provoking story that is flawlessly acted, superbly written and brilliantly adapted for the screen, I suggest you take in  “The Company You Keep.” Truly an amazing film.

Here’s a scene from YouTube.


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