Starts July 25, 2013
Directed by: Robert Redford
Writing credits: Lem Dobbs, Neil Gordon novel
Cast: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper, Terrence Howard, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Anna Kendrick, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root, Jackie Evancho, Matthew Kimbrough
Length: 122 minutes
“Why? … Thirty years in one sentence. … What about you, what are you willing to take a risk for?” Sharon (Sarandon) peacefully asks the young, obnoxious Albany (New York) Sun Times reporter. Ben (LaBeouf), undeterred, is on the trail of what could be a career-making exposé, concerning members of the once radical, now defunct Weather Underground group. For thirty years the FBI has been after the fugitives for murdering a bank guard during a robbery. When local attorney Jim Grant (Redford) declines taking Sharon’s sensational case, Ben’s curiosity is piqued. He starts digging into backgrounds, uncovers some surprises, and ultimately catches the attention of the revenge motivated FBI task force leader (Howard). Forced underground, Grant’s quest competes with time.
This film exemplifies Robert Redford’s forte as a skilled director and actor. He smoothly leads us through the intricacies of a complex screenplay (Dobbs), based on Neil Gordon’s novel. The characters may be fictional, however the Weather Underground was very real—university student activists against the Viet Nam war, and the political shenanigans surrounding it. Kudos goes to the entire production team, and the talented cast for their restrained, brilliant performances. To learn more about the Weathermen, get hold of my friend Sam Green’s award winning and 2004 Oscar© nominated documentary, The Weather Underground. It is a well-balanced, candid account of the racial/politico/social issues in the late 1960s – early 70s. Oftentimes going back in history brings us full circle to the present. (Marinell H.)