‘The Company You Keep’ has a great cast… too bad the script isn’t as good

Robert Redford stars in and directs 'The Company You Keep'
Robert Redford stars in and directs ‘The Company You Keep’

[rating=3]Starring:  Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root and Jacqueline Evancho
Writer(s):  Lem Dobbs (screenplay) and Neil Gordon (novel)
Director(s):  Robert Redford

Redford produces, directs and stars in this film that takes a look at the life of a man who has been on the run for more than three decades.

“Sharon Solarz” (Sarandon) is a suburban housewife in upstate New York who is suddenly arrested by a swarm of FBI agents.  She’s been exposed as one of the members of the Weather Underground Organization, known as the “Weathermen”.  She was involved in a bank robbery where a guard was murdered.

“Ben Shepard” (LaBeouf) is a reporter for the Albany local paper and he’s taken to task by his editor “Ray” (Tucci) for failing to uncover this story.  He challenges Ben to bring him a real story.  So Ben finds out that Sharon talked to “Billy” (Root), another local, about turning herself in.  Billy had gone to see local attorney “Jim Grant” (Redford) after Sharon was arrested to urge him to take the case.

Shia LeBeouf in 'The Company You Keep'
Shia LeBeouf in ‘The Company You Keep’

Grant, a public-interest lawyer, refused.  Ben manages to connect the dots and uncovers the startling fact that Jim Grant is actually “Nick Sloan”, who is also wanted taking part in that bank robbery.  This forces Nick to go on the run, leaving his young daughter “Isabel” (Evancho) in the hands of his brother “Daniel” (Cooper).


Nick wants to find another of the former Weathermen, “Mimi Lurie” (Christie), because she holds the key to his ability to live out his life raising his daughter.  Meanwhile, Ben keeps digging and gets closer and closer to finding his man.

The concept of a man forced to go on the run for something 30 years in his past isn’t new and this isn’t a ground-breaking film.  It does take the position that ending the war in Vietnam was a proper goal for the Weathermen to seek to achieve, although one of its problems is that it doesn’t take the pro or the con position regarding their violent methods.  It is labeled as a thriller but there just aren’t quite enough thrills in the ‘chase’ portion of the movie.

The casting is wonderful and it’s a shame that such a talented company of actors didn’t have a more worthy story to work with.  Their performances are all very strong and that alone makes it worth watching.  In the end, the cast is the company you want to keep on the screen, even when the story is not first rate.

Rated: R
Run Time: 2 hrs., 5 mins.

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