The Company You Keep (2012, Robert Redford)

So, the first thing that’s off with this is the ages: Redford is significantly too old to play his character – he would have been in his thirties when he is supposed to have committed these terrorist acts – and most of the other (admittedly fine actor) friends of Robert Redford are also slightly too old for their characters. But it’s more his daughter’s age that is ridiculous. Was this the novel? Was this the movie? Regardless, it feels like a cheap emotional hook to try to make us sympathize with Redford’s character before we learn “The Truth.” A better movie would have let the audience decide what they wanted about Redford’s character before the “The Truth” comes out, and wouldn’t use this cheap plot device. But since it’s rather central to the story, I guess a better novel would have done the same…


Another age-related thing which doesn’t make much sense is the age of the other daughter; you know, the one truly central to the plot. I mean, maybe she’s that old, but by casting her as an eternal student, her age is obscured and it makes it seem less like she is the right age.

Then there’s LeBeouf’s character, who is awfully persistent over what appears, to the audience at least, to be the least interesting part of the story. The movie eventually makes it clear as to why he is so determined, but until it does, we really don’t understand why he gives a shit.

And then there’s the dubious “journalism” lesson we get hammered over the head with. I guess we’re supposed to learn something about journalistic integrity and that some lines shouldn’t be crossed, and, oh, I don’t know, they knew The Right Way in The Good Old Days.

A missed opportunity to use fertile ground for a political thriller.


  • Directed by Robert Redford
  • Produced by Nicolas Chartier, Robert Redford, Bill Holderman
  • Written by Lem Dobbs, Based on The Company You Keep by Neil Gordon
  • Starring:
    • Robert Redford as Jim Grant/Nick Sloan, a former member of the Weather Underground and widowed father posing as an upstanding Albany lawyer
    • Shia LaBeouf as Ben Shepard, a reporter
    • Julie Christie as Mimi Lurie, a former member of the Weather Underground
    • Susan Sarandon as Sharon Solarz, a former member of the Weather Underground
    • Jackie Evancho as Isabel Grant, Jim’s 11-year-old daughter, who is unaware of her father’s past
    • Brendan Gleeson as Henry Osborne, the officer who had first investigated the bank robbery for which Grant is wanted
    • Brit Marling as Rebecca Osborne, Henry’s adopted daughter
    • Anna Kendrick as Diana, an FBI agent, who had dated Ben and leaks information to him
    • Terrence Howard as Cornelius, the FBI agent leading the chase
    • Richard Jenkins as Jed Lewis, a college professor with links to the former radicals
    • Nick Nolte as Donal Fitzgerald, Jim’s old best friend who owns a lumber business
    • Chris Cooper as Daniel Sloan, Nick Sloan’s brother
    • Sam Elliott as Mac Mcleod, Mimi’s boss in the marijuana trade
    • Stephen Root as Billy Cusimano, who runs an organic grocery store in Albany
    • Stanley Tucci as Ray Fuller, Ben’s boss at the newspaper
    • Keegan Connor Tracy as Jim Grant’s secretary
  • Music by Cliff Martinez
  • Cinematography by Adriano Goldman
  • Edited by Mark Day
  • Production company: Voltage Pictures
  • Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
  • Release date: September 6, 2012
  • Running time: 125 minutes
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Budget: $2 million
  • Box office: $19.6 million

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