Movie review: A radical 'Company' lies about its age

MCCLATCHY-TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICEApril 26, 2013 

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Robert Redford plays an attorney trying to escape his past in “The Company You Keep.”

DOANE GREGORY

  • THE COMPANY YOU KEEP

    ••1/2

    Rated: R for language. Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Robert Redford, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci. Director: Robert Redford. Running time: 125 minutes. Theaters: Flicks and Edwards 12 in Nampa.

Robert Redford delivers a lecture on '60s idealism in "The Company You Keep," an engrossing thriller about the last anti-Vietnam War radicals still underground.

Redford, along with fellow Oscar winners Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper and Julie Christie, and the cream of the current crop of character actors - Brendan Gleeson, Terrence Howard, Nick Nolte, Stanley Tucci and Richard Jenkins - make this "No Country for Old Radicals" a feast of performance, with many of those illustrious stars sharing scenes with Shia LaBeouf, who plays an obsessed newspaper reporter.

Sarandon plays a former member of "The Struggle" who has laid low for decades, raising kids and harboring guilt. She wants to turn herself in for her part in a bank robbery that got a guard killed. The FBI catches her first.

LaBeouf is sent to do the follow-up story. And what he starts to uncover gets him on the front page, and puts another fugitive, a local civil liberties lawyer (Redford), on the lam, dragging his daughter with him.

As reporter Ben fends off his downsizing/budget-cutting editor (Stanley Tucci) and follows the scent, others from that underground group come up for air.

As the lawyer's true identity comes out, as "people who know how to hide" prove it by eluding law enforcement members one third their age, as Ben clings to his story "like a life raft," the puzzle pieces fall together and characters have their say about who they were and what they did back then, and who they are now.

The biggest problem with "The Company" is obvious. It is mathematically inept. The vast majority of the events here happened in the late '60s and early '70s. "Thirty years ago" would barely fit in the trials of that era, nor would it accurately reflect the ages of this cast.

That clumsiness doesn't derail it, but it does tend to undercut this well-acted "story told to children" about the 1960s.

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