Movie Review: The Company You Keep

Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate.

Jean-Paul’s rating: 3/5 stars Sometimes, somebody else’s past comes back to haunt you.


“The Company You Keep” features an all star cast.  Too bad the movie doesn’t do much with them.  It’s not that this is a bad movie.  I actually enjoyed it despite its flaws.  It’s just that I’d expect a more coherent story line from such an ensemble.

The premise of the movie is loosely rooted in history.  Members of the Weather Underground who were accused of killing a security guard in a botched bank robbery have successfully hidden in society and, forty years later, have new lives and families and children.  One of the members decides to turn herself in.  Why?  This is never really revealed.  Guilt, I guess.  This unleashes a chain of events that leads Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) to discover that lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) is actually Nick Sloan, another of the bank robbers and suspected trigger man.  Jim/Nick is forced to go on the run and leave his young daughter behind.

Its a really good premise for a movie.  Instead, it leads to more questions than answers.  There is this whole part with the sheriff and his family that makes no sense.  The motivations of Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie) are kind of just brushed under the rug in order to produce a happy ending.  It seems like quite a few laws are broken by Nick Sloan’s brother but no arrests are made.  And many others.

Most of the fun of watching this movie was the constant barrage of stars that comes at you.  Obviously, the acting is great and there are some very memorable scenes and some great dialogue.

At the very end, there is this incredibly endearing scene when Jim Grant is reunited with his daughter Isabel (Jackie Evancho).  Isabel is sitting alone on a park bench and Jim walks into the frame.  Isabel looks up and sees him and her entire face just lights up with joy only to be replaced a moment later with extreme hurt.  For that split second, seeing her father made her forget that she was supposed to be mad at him for disappearing so suddenly.  Beautiful.

As an additional note, Chicagoans will be happy to learn that Nick Sloan’s flight takes him to Chicago in order to get from a  university professor and former Weather Underground member.  This is quite obviously supposed to be University of Chicago professor Bill Ayers, the terrorist that Sarah Palin and her ilk accused  Barack Obama of paling around with.

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