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“The Company You Keep” – Review (POSITIVE)

May 21, 2013

WEK_RobertRedford_0405Can’t remember the last time Robert Redford has directed something that has kept me fully engaged from start to finish, with the exception of “Quiz Show” (I really like that film). Redford directs and co-stars in this all-star studded cast of characters, that is really nothing more than a chase film covered in political-belief propaganda.

I’ve never lived in the 60’s so I can’t really feel the total connection to the characters, especially Redford’s, but I can try to empathize. The movie does bounce back and forth tonal between Redford & Shia LaBeouf’s characters, but “The Company You Keep” is not a misshapen production that some critics have made it out to be.

After years in hiding, ex-Weather Underground militant, Nick Sloan aka Jim Grant (Redford), learns about his old compatriot’s (Susan Sarandon) arrest for a bank robbery turned deadly in the 1970s, which he is wanted as an accomplice. This puts the ambitious young local reporter, Ben Shepard (LaBeouf), on the scent of a story that exposes Nick as well. As such, Nick goes on the run while taking his daughter to safety. With that accomplished, Nick stays one step ahead of the FBI while pursuing a faint hope to clear his name. Meanwhile, Shepard digs deeper into the case himself as he discovers the true complexities of another times’ determined ideals even Nick face their consequences with another.

The story unfolds quite well, it’s not a complete high tension, thriller, but there are a few interesting twists and turns you won’t see coming. What I liked was that the film is that the affect and course of time in change that follows these radical believers during a time when war was everything, and it was all for the right/wrong reasons. Nick/Jim was someone who truly believed in what he was preaching and for many who disagreed with the war in Vietnam his words were just. But, when you decide to take your ideas further to a more dangerous, and more than likely hypocritical stand point, the line between right and wrong becomes grey.

Lies, falseness, they all play a major role in each main characters storyline. Ben is a reporter that will pull every subtle dirty move to get the answers he needs which leads to a direct affect into Jim’s life. Be that as it may, the one thing I did find a hard time believing about the Ben character is how he was able to discover and reveal Jim’s true identity when the US. Government was unable to do so for the past 30+ years. I guess the moral here is that if you have a lap top and know a few dirty people, you can be the worlds greatest detective. I feel that Ben needed to be fleshed out more so than Jim.

But, the movie’s got strong suits, and that definitely goes to the fine casting selection Redford miraculously  concocted. Probably one of the best supporting characters in the film go to Nick Nolte and Stanley Tucci. Everyone else had fine performances, some more so underused than others, the revelation between Redford’s & Julie Christie’s characters came off as a bit of a lackluster, but all in all everything comes together nicely, thanks to the brilliant cast.

GRADE: B

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