Saturday, 21 September 2013

The Company You Keep: DVD Review

The Company You Keep: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Madman Home Entertainment

Based on the novel by Neil Gordon, Robert Redford directs and stars in this film about the Weather Underground, a radical protest group in America back in the late 60s plotted to overthrow the government.

When a former member of the group, Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) hands herself into the FBI after 30 years in hiding following a bank robbery in which one person was murdered, local journalist Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf) finds his interest piqued. A series of clues and a tip off from the FBI leads Shepard to uncover Jim Grant (Robert Redford) a former Weatherman who's wanted for murder. But when the web starts to get closer to netting Grant, he goes on the run.

However, Shepard doesn't believe he's guilty of the crime he's accused of...

The Company You Keep is a solid, if unspectacular thriller which benefits from a truly great ensemble cast. The likes of Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick, Sarandon, Brendan Gleeson and Nick Nolte to name but a few show the depth of the cast which can give a story the venerability and reliance it needs as it unspools. It's a mix of putting 1960s idealism into a modern day setting while muddying the waters with old age - and it works well with the likes of Robert Redford at the helm. Occasionally though, it feels like these actors are simply rolled out, with little to work with - a series of extended cameos if you will. Certainly, Howard's Cornelius, an agent in charge of the hunt, seems to do little other than bark out traditional FBI cliches - and Anna Kendrick is woefully underused.

And yet, it never fully seems to grasp the mettle of thriller and give you as much tension or suspense as you'd expect as it chops and changes back and forth to Redford being on the run and Shepard doing the research. There's a real lack of suspense as the story unfolds despite some killer scenes. Restrained and reasonable, The Company You Keep is a great movie for an afternoon's viewing indoors on the small screen with its knotty conundrum of moral principles years down the line. While not quintessentially gripping Redford, it's just a shame that the source material hasn't transcribed better to the big screen, given the fact there's such a stunning cast involved.


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