The Company You Keep Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 22, 2013
An under-rated, but good film starring, and directed by Robert Redford. The acting is solid throughout, and Shia LaBeouf is surprisingly good. It was a treat to see Julie Christie again, also! She still looks lovely. What makes this movie compelling is that it aims at the intellect. It is not just a movie about aging 60's activists, and extremists. It discusses the motivations, and philosophy of the period. Well done...
Super Reviewer
½ December 24, 2013
It's just not a good story.
Super Reviewer
August 16, 2013
**

"The Company You Keep" is one of those complex thrillers with some twists and turns, that just doesn't work out quite like it could have. I dunno what it was about it, but I didn't think it was as good as it could have been. It stars Shia LeBeouf as a reporter who learns the true identities of fugitives who had committed a murder 30 years prior. It weaves back and forth between him trying to find the truth, and one of fugitives trying to clear his name to remain with his daughter. The fugitive in question is played by Robert Redford(who also directs) and man he is still great after all these years. He has that "movie star" quality that a lot of actors just don't have anymore. The cast is great, even LeBeouf does a good job. Susan Sarandon, Sam Elliot, Terrance Howard, Richard Jenkins, among others round out the stellar cast. But the pacing and subject matter just don't really sustain(at least for me). I think if it focused more on Redford, and less on LeBeouf, it would have been better. But then again, it would have been a completely different movie. I love a good political type thriller(for example, "Ides of March" was pretty good)but this was just "meh". Maybe it was when I watched it(kind of late at night) and just wasn't as interested as I could have been. Maybe on a second viewing I will like it more. I can see why people will like it, because it is a smart movie. But at the same time, I can see how it will be off putting for others. Worth a rental? Sure, judge for yourself. But I'd pick up a spare movie just in case;-)
jjnxn
Super Reviewer
½ August 14, 2013
Redford has assembled an amazing cast, excepting LeBeouf who can't keep up, to tell what should be a fascinating story but somehow misses the mark through slow pacing and a lack of sharp focus. Julie Christie is wonderful making more of her part than is on the page but Susan Sarandon isn't properly used as is true with all the talent involved. Not a terrible film it just could have been much more.
YodaMasterJedi
Super Reviewer
½ May 23, 2013
3 stars
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2013
Not a great film, but a reasonably engaging thriller that wrestles with the legacy of radical movements such as the Weather Underground.
themoviewaffler.com
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2013
Jim Grant (Robert Redford), once known as Nick Sloan, is a former member of a left-wing activist group that disbanded following the shooting dead of a security guard during a 1980 bank robbery. Under his new identity he has been operating as a lawyer in Albany, New York, while raising his 11 year-old daughter following his wife's recent death. When Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) is arrested for her part in the robbery, Albany Sun-Times reporter Ben Shepard (Shia LeBeouf) conducts an investigation which leads him to discover Grant's true identity. Leaving his daughter with her uncle, Grant sets out to track down Mimi Lurie (Julie Christie), the woman responsible for the 1980 killing, hoping to convince her to turn herself in.
When actors turn their hand to directing, it usually results in a certain style of film-making, one more concerned with acting and dialogue than visual story-telling. A film directed by someone more comfortable in front of, rather than behind, the camera, usually resembles an episode of a T.V show in its aesthetic. There are, of course, a few exceptions; Vincent Gallo's 'Buffalo 66', Mel Gibson's 'Apocalypto', and Charles Laughton's 'Night of the Hunter' are immensely cinematic. Usually, however, actor-directors prefer to keep things simple. As a director, Robert Redford's films have, for the most part, resembled edited versions of T.V mini-series. 'The Company You Keep' continues this trend.
It's easy to see why Redford was drawn to Lem Dobbs' script, as it combines the plot-lines of two movies he appeared in during his acting heyday of the seventies. The procedural element of a journalist digging deeper into a story despite much opposition is straight out of 'All the President's Men', while the man-on-the-run story-line feels like a geriatric update of his role in 'Three Days of the Condor'. The former is a gripping drama, arguably the best movie ever made concerning journalism. The latter is a fun thriller in the style of Hitchcock.
Redford fails to combine the two into a satisfying whole. His movie is at its best when focusing on LeBouef's investigation, as the young star gives his most mature performance to date, shaking off the baggage of the 'Transformers' series. Watching Redford's attempts to escape capture at times provokes unintended laughter, with the 76 year-old hopping over fences like it's 1973 again.

Ultimately, the film is saved from disaster by the impressive cast assembled by Redford. Just when things start to get dull, another quality character actor like Brendan Gleeson, Stanley Tucci, or Chris Cooper turns up to get you through the next couple of scenes. It's a story which needs more fleshing out though, and the final 30 minutes attempt to cram a little too much in too short a time in order to wrap up sub-plots. Add an extra hour to develop things and this could have made a decent two-part T.V mini-series, rather than a rushed and schizophrenic feature film.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2013
The "Company You Keep" starts with Sharon Solarz(Susan Sarandon) being arrested by an FBI team led by agent Cornelius(Terrence Howard) for a decades old bank robbery and murder. Albany Times Union reporter Ben Shepard(Shia LaBeouf) connects the dots to Billy Cusimano(Stephen Root), a local businessman, who leads him to Jim Grant(Robert Redford, who also directed), a public interest lawyer, widower and father to 11-year old Isabel(Jackie Evancho). When Shepard confronts him about his refusal to represent Solarz, Grant refuses to comment. What he is willing to do instead is make a break for it with Isabel, before the temperature gets any hotter.

While a little judicious editing would have done wonders, especially with the anti-climactic ending, "The Company You Keep" does have a once in a lifetime cast that always keeps things interesting, even if the story does not do the same.(It would take less time to list who is not in the movie than who is.) Overall, that allows for different perspectives on the same events. Specifically and surprisingly, Shia LaBeouf holds his own, at least until Brit Marling shows up on the screen and right before Richard Jenkins gives Robert Redford acting lessons.

As far as issues go, the movie is less interested in politics than the current state of the newspaper business, often crossing the line between trying to impart knowledge and haranguing.(I'm still trying to decide how ironic the ubiquitous product placement is supposed to be.) A lot of the target of this is Shepard, as he tracks down the story and collects the facts. But isn't that what he is supposed to be doing as a reporter?
Super Reviewer
August 24, 2013
In a lot of ways, The Company You Keep is the sort of drama that we need more of, one with a preoccupation with dialogue and build-up, rather than forced chase sequences or overly simplistic commentary about complex social issues. It has a very mature feel to it, in that it tries to convey a sense of dramatic tension organically, yet it never fully delivers on this tension, and never quite lives up to the bar which it tries to set for itself.

The film tells the story of a family man who, through a seemingly inexplicable series of events, finds himself exposed as a fugitive of a militant leftist group. The film follows both the man (Redford), and the journalist on his trail. Though this sort of trope is familiar, that of the young budding journalist with an uncanny ability to put the pieces together, the film did a generally good job of not telegraphing where it was going to go, at least immediately. The problem is that the script bogs down the film in the mid to later acts with a plot that feels terribly overwritten, and an ending that feels strangely too simplistic. Interesting plot lines are raised, but never paid off, the resolutions that do occur never feel well earned. This is a symptom of unpolished script writing, as well as a lack of focus with Redford's direction. Redford seemingly wanted to do a lot of things, but never excelled at one thing. Thus, the film feels incomplete as a drama, and certainly incomplete as a thriller.

The performances, to be sure, are characteristically strong, especially by Redford. We are treated to these characters in a very old-school, almost clinical manner, and are therefore left to wonder about the motivations involved, which does make for some interesting character dynamics. The pace is slow, but consistently slow, and befitting of the material. Technically it's well made, and never boring (occasionally tedious perhaps). As such, it does enough right to keep you interested, but ultimately does fall in to that ever-frustrating category of "it could've been more".

3/5 Stars
SC007
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2013
The film is good, but it could have been so much better. The film reminds me a little of movies like The Fugitive, True Crimes, and Running on Empty. I could have also seen Clint Eastwood direct the film too. Overall, Redford does a good job here both acting wise and directing wise.

On a positive, Redford casted a really great ensemble. Julie Christie steals the film. Sarandon is great when she is on screen. Same goes with Richard Jenkins. Solid supporting work also here from Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Sam Elliot, and Anna Kendrick.

On a negative, Shia LaBeouf is miscast here. He feels out of place. He is no match to Redford or Sarandon, when he is on screen with them. It is like he is doing a bad John Cusack impersonation in this movie. Another actor in that role would have been so much better. I think Jessie Eisenberg would have been good in that role. I also didn't like that small flirtation between his character and Brit Marling's character. It feels out of place here. Also I would have like to have seen more as to why Sarandon turned herself in. The pacing is also off here.

Overall, I definitely recommend the film especially for the performances.
Super Reviewer
½ May 31, 2013
It may feel a little long, but there is enough weight to the story to keep things humming throughout. The cast are serviceable, the direction is typically proficient Redford-esque and there are no big reveals or shocking gimmickly delivered twists here. No, The Company You Keep is just an efficient, engaging mystery drama with a few low key thrills thrown in for good measure. It's no-frills, forgettable stuff in the long run, but its more than decent entertainment for a couple of hours.
JC
Super Reviewer
½ May 14, 2013
A lazy and predictable third act spoiled what could have been a decent attempt to capture the 1970's radicals-on-the-run narrative. A Law & Order episode covered this same subject matter much better. Shia LaBeouf is a terrible actor surrounded by some of the best actors in the last 40 years. Redford dropped the ball with this one. A note for the continuity people - if the fall leaves are changing in Ann Arbor then the should be in the UP as well if not completely down. (5-14-13)
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2013
Engaging and well cast, "The Company You Keep" has at least enough star power to keep the entire film interesting. Robert Redford directs and stars in this politically charged thriller, producing familiar faces around every corner and providing a template to any future inspirations to making an ensemble piece work out perfectly. Shia LaBeouf proves he can hang, yet again, in a dramatic role. His idioms provide plenty of humorous moments, but for the most part, he nails this performance and makes it his own. Brit Marling also captivates in her small role and rises above her limited exposure to produce one of the highlights of the film. The Lem Dobbs writing keeps you guessing through most of the film, and even though I figured out some of the oncoming twists well before they were acknowledged is due more to the fact that I've seen so many movies, rather than the twists being telegraphed. Overall, Redford proves successful in both his roles of the film and never shows signs of aging, a curse that comes for many seasoned actors of his generation.
MagnusMagica
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2013
A good drama thriller with good performances by Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon and Julie Christie.
It was a nice little ride towards what appeared to be an interesting ending, but
the ending ruined the film a bit for me. It seems they tried to wrap it up into a nice little package. It seemed too constricted to me.
hawkledge
Super Reviewer
½ April 15, 2013
Jumbled and barely holds, crammed with competing narrative.
July 19, 2015
A political thriller without the thriller part. Although Robert Redford is beginning to resemble a dancing zombie.
September 20, 2014
"The Company You Keep" really wasn't too bad of a movie, but it had its weaknesses. The cast was wonderful, and I thought LaBeouf did a great job as the Shepard. Redford surprised me with his directing, The story had potential, but I thought it was weak and needed more to get its point across. I liked some of the twists; they weren't predictable. Overall decent
July 31, 2014
Such a good movie! Definitely worth watching! People are crazy- this political thriller was NO snoozefest. I loved every single minute!
March 6, 2014
Please.Hollywood.Just.Stop.Please.Just.Stop...trying to make Shia LaBeouf a thing. He's not lead material; Spielberg was uncommonly wrong. Please stop trying to force him on us. He's not a terrible actor, but he has no charm; every role he takes I can think of 15 better actors who could have taken his role and done better with them.

Otherwise a solid movie, great cast (besides of course LaBeouf); the interview scene with Susan Sarandon was totally unneeded, the only reason its in the movie is because its Susan Sarandon.
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