The Company You Keep (2012)
I can understand why not much of a fuss was made of The Company You Keep (2012) in the U.K. even with a starry cast that supports Robert Redford in this “thriller” that sees aging activist go on the run as his own past catches up with him. I thought from the trailer that I originally saw 3 years ago it would be pretty decent. A reliable actor in Redford would allow me to forgive him playing opposite Shia LaBeouf as the investigative journalist of the local paper. He’s persistent, I’ll give him that.
So why is The Company You Keep such a let down, even with it being rooted in modern history and politics. Maybe the fact that I could not be the core audience this film’s aimed at, more the baby-boomers who remember the raw images of the Vietnam war that shaped a generation in America. Most of the cast would definitely had an opinion either way on the conflict. I wont and don’t really relate to that era, it’s just too far removed for a guy who is more aware of Islamic terrorism than the threat of Communism. The conflict is a far different affair and ideology to Communism, and the War on Terror is only into its second decade.
For me a draw was supposedly strong cast of actors who are supporting Redford (Jim Grant / Nick Sloan) who is wanting to be freed from his past a reuniting him with his young daughter, which to me is stretching the characters age really thin to me. We first see Susan Sarandon whose arrested by the F.B.I. lead by Agent Cornelius (Terrence Howard) who is on the trail of others. To be honest Sarandon only has 3 scene which only help in reminding you that she;s actually in the film. Much the same goes for the rest of the cast really, I mean the big names who appear to only be doing a weeks work for their old pal Redford.
Chris Cooper is miscast as Sloan’s brother who himself has a few more scene, being his on-screen sibling, doing his best with what he’s given, the now legal guardian for his niece who Sloan has to get back to. Not his wife who died before the events of the film which would make for a better film really. Cooper like the rest of the older cast members are making do with the few scenes they have, putting up with LaBeouf’s Ben Shepard‘s desperate detective work to find out why Sloan is on the run. To be fair to his character he does do more detective work than the F.B.I. including his old flame Diana (Anna Kendrick) who lets evidence slip out to him. Also I think he was better cast in the role, the annoying guy poking around to get what he wants, No he’s not my favorite actor but he suits the role, so a good bit of casting that plays to his strengths..or weaknesses.
I really wish I hadn’t waited so long to catch this film. I spent most of my time tying to see who we would see next on-screen. Looking out for Julie Christie in all honesty, another member of the aging Underground weather group, who did much better than the Wake Up gang in Wake Up, Ron Burgundy: The Lost Movie (2004) who actually more entertaining than these men and women who have all grown apart, most not wanting to stay in contact with a few die-hard’s for the cause, which we hear a lot about without the passion which is sadly lacking in this film with the potential for so much more with the pedigree of talent.