2013 / Director. Robert Redford.
I like Robert Redford but I am often turned off by his politics. His 2007 film Lions For Lambs almost lost me for good with it's blatant extreme left propaganda agenda... so when THE COMPANY YOU KEEP was released and it was clearly a political piece I became reluctant to watch it. Nevertheless I braced myself - and was pleasantly surprised. Impressed even. The film begins with a housewife (Susan Sarandon) being arrested by the FBI on charges of murder. She was part of an extreme leftist group who considered themselves freedom fighters in the 60s and one of their protest attacks left a man dead. Shia LaBeouf plays a dogged reporter who exposes a local lawyer to be a member of that group, living incognito. Redford is that man and he spends the length of the film on the run, trying to find other members in hiding, determined to prove his innocence. There is a lot about this film that impressed me but none more than its question of justice. Redford could have easily used this project to spruik a left-winged political position but instead he chose to examine the politics with hindsight and distance. The question of whether the end justified the means is an ongoing theme throughout the film and Redford wisely puts the victim of the 1960s attack in focus. Was the life of this family man worth the cause? Of course there is still a left ideology behind the film but that's fine. It's a good ideology and the way it's addressed could make this one of Redford's most mature pieces yet. The ensemble cast is impressive and the script is strong. It plays out like The Fugitive meets Running On Empty and proves to be a steadily-paced manhunt thriller showcasing two particularly good performances.