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Movie review: 'The Company You Keep'

Posted 4:56pm on Thursday, Apr. 11, 2013

R (strong language); 124 min.

Robert Redford delivers one last lecture on '60s idealism and passes another baton to Shia LaBeouf in The Company You Keep, an engrossing thriller about the last anti-Vietnam War radicals still underground.

Redford, along with Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper and Julie Christie, and the cream of the cinema's 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 performances, with many of those illustrious stars sharing scenes with LaBeouf, who plays an obsessed newspaper reporter on their trail.

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 some "30 years ago." But the FBI (Howard) catches her first.

LaBeouf is a hotshot reporter at a struggling Albany paper 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.

Redford aims barbs at the "dying press," about "accuracy, agenda" and the like. And LaBeouf's reporter breaks a few rules, slipping money to sources, lying to get his foot in doors.

The biggest problem with The Company is more obvious. The vast majority of the events described and portrayed here happened in the late '60s and early '70s, during the war these radicals were protesting. "Thirty years ago" would barely fit in the latest of the trials of that era, nor would it accurately reflect the ages of the mostly aged cast. Redford was 35 in 1971. Pretending he's not 70-plus is both vain and insulting.

That clumsiness doesn't derail it, but it does tend to undercut this nicely cast and very well-acted "story told to children" about the '60s.

Exclusive: Angelika Dallas; Angelika Plano; opens April 26 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

-- Roger Moore,

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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