Published Sep 07, 2012Call it The Expendables of the self-righteous, forgettable drama set. Call it the dour, humourless, didactic cousin of RED. Outside of glib cinematic references, call it, "boring, hackneyed grandstanding" and you'll be right on the mark.
Robert Redford directs, stars and assembles a cast that mixes creaky Hollywood royalty — Nick Nolte (who sounds like he's gargling a toad every time he speaks), Julie Christie (resembling Leatherface's aunt these days) and the director (looking unintentionally comical in jogging apparel) with aging character actors such as Sam Elliot, Chris Cooper, Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson and Stanley Tucci, and a couple young stars of disparate ability: the over-utilized Shia LaBeouf and under-utilized Anna Kendrick (50/50).
I'm forced to admit that LaBeouf is once again (after Lawless) trying his ass off, this time as greasy, smug, manipulative reporter Ben Shepard, but the seams of his efforts are glaring — subtlety is not his strong suit, nor is it Redford's.
Rather than engage in any thought-provoking discourse on violent '70s protest group the Weather Underground's political or moral goals, The Company You Keep is content to merely show off Redford's Rolodex (yes, I presume he still uses archaic physical data storage) and treat the whole affair as nothing more than a slight investigative thriller built upon plodding chase scenes where everybody gets around to doing the right thing as soon as their personal goals are at odds with the film's redemptive narrative ambitions.
Sure, as Redford's Jim Grant goes on the run to clear his name of domestic terrorism charges when he's outed by Shepard after 30 years living under a false identify, he confronts the arrogance of youthful idealism through conversations with his former compatriots, but it does little more than criticise the obvious limitations of living in the Never, Neverland of extreme activism.
Crapping on myopic political romanticism is nowhere near substantial enough to warrant even a passing recommendation of this indulgent, plausibility-challenged snoozer. (eOne)