Nerdlocker Movie Review: The Company You Keep


With a reputation like Robert Redford’s I’m surprised he doesn’t get more roles. I’m glad to see a sudden resurgence by him in such films as the eventual blockbuster Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as a few others listed on IMDb. Until then we have his personally directed film The Company You Keep. For the most part it’s a slow paced drama, but is still able, in my eyes, to carry on well enough to be entertaining. It’s been a long time since Redford had a truly memorable script to work from, so I say he is doing quite well with what he’s been given to direct.

Past transgressions always seem to return at the worst of times. Of course when a particular event involving murder takes place, no time is right to face the consequences. Even more so if you are innocent when no one thinks you are. According to Jim Grant (Robert Redford) he was involved, but never pulled the trigger that resulted in the death of a bank guard over thirty years ago. He, along with several others, opposed the Vietnam War and when peaceful actions had no effect they turned to violence to capture the attention of the American people and its government. Through actions that were considered terrorism they began a campaign they saw as the only way to end the war. They blew up building after building trying to convey a message that if the war didn’t end they would bring it home to American soil. In a robbery attempt by this group a guard was accidentally shot and killed, which now made the group and anyone involved high value fugitives. They all went their separate ways and started false lives to evade arrest.


This was over thirty years ago and in a moment of let’s call it, reflection or regret, a member decides she can’t keep the charade going any longer, and so she makes plans to give herself up to the FBI. Before she can do this, however, she is taken into custody by the FBI. It is at this moment that we are introduced to Ben Shepard (Shia LaBeouf), a small town nothing of a reporter with something to prove. He’s been looking for that one story that will turn things around for him. This case could be the very thing he has been waiting for. After an article he writes depicting events involving the case captures the attention of Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon), the woman who was just arrested by the FBI, she agrees to an interview conducted by Shepard. It is in this interview that things are brought to light including where one of her former partners is hiding.

Jim Grant is a small time defense lawyer with a little girl and a recently deceased wife. Before being married Jim lived a very different life as Nick Sloan, a radical that took part in the bombings during the Vietnam War. office When this comes out he knows it’s only a matter of time until the FBI comes after him, so he makes arrangements for his daughter and begins his journey to clear his name. If he is caught he will be charged with the murder of the bank guard. He has always claimed innocence but without proof he won’t be heard. As Nick runs from the law, Shepard starts closing in on information about who was actually involved, and it’s bigger than he could have realized. This whole operation these people set up was an engine with a lot of moving parts, and until now it all stayed in the shadows hidden away. Shepard aims to uncover the truth, but what his youth brings in tenaciousness and perseverance also hinders him in realizing the weight of his actions and who they could hurt. The article he wants to write could make a name for him, but at what cost?

There is more than meets the eye here. Not everything can be found through outside sources, but Shepard plans on doing just that by getting to Jim/Nick and asking him firsthand just what in the hell is actually going on. howard_kendrick Shepard recognizes Nick’s actions don’t say guilty, they imply innocence. Could he actually be innocent? Everyone says they’re not guilty, but without proof it means nothing. Nick begins closing in on the evidence he needs, but with the FBI getting closer every day he may come up empty handed with a very long jail sentence to look forward to. His freedom is dependent on someone else from the past losing their freedom. He hopes this person will have mercy on him for the sake of his daughter who is still small and unable to really comprehend just what is happening. Time is running short for Nick and if a reporter can find him it won’t be long until the police find him as well.

The Fugitive was a very exciting film in its time and this shows elements of that film, but is far less exciting. The pace is supposed to be heightened and tense and it never really comes across the screen. Redford’s character seems too composed all the time, and as a man on the run from law enforcement you would think he might be a little more excitable and nervous. park The character work is decent, but not quite enough to make you really care for them. You get a bit of a background on what these people did and then you’re thrust thirty something years into the present and you’re supposed to believe all these people have a checkered past together. It’s not that you can’t believe it but when they meet each other after thirty or so years there should be a feeling of shock but there isn’t. Redford’s character comes across old faces that were involved in some way with their cause, but they don’t always say how or to what extent. They were just there and that should be enough. Well for me it wasn’t enough, it needed a little more back story in my opinion. I wanted to know the characters from this man’s past. It’s a decent enough film to be enjoyable but it is a very forgettable film too. I would rent it, enjoy it and move on as nothing really can be taken from it.

Rated R for: language
Runtime: 125 minutes
After Credits Scene: None
Starring: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte
Directed By: Robert Redford

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3 / Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 3 / Visuals: 2
OVERALL: 3 Nerdskulls

Check out the trailer:

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard