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The Company You Keep - Film Review

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by Mila Wood (subscribe)
I work in the Finance department of a media company, and someone who dabbles in writing of any genre.
Published April 11th 2013
A movie that will keep on the edge of seat
These days going to the movies is something more of a novelty. The invention of DVD players, 50 inch TV and modern conveniences that we have at home, not to mention the cost of a night out makes staying at home more viable. But the fact that all-time great actors like Robert Redford are still around to deliver amazing movies, entices us to head to the theatre and watch this formidable actor at work.

Hence the making of a movie called "The Company You Keep". Based on the novel by Neil Gordon, this movie stars and is directed by Robert Redford and includes an ensemble of star studded cast members such as Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Chris Cooper and Nick Nolte. The cast also includes, Shia LeBeouf, Brit Marling, and Anna Kendrick, who are some of the brightest rising actors of today. This compelling movie centres on Jim Grant, portrayed by Robert Redford, a former antiwar radical, who for the last 30 years is ensconce as a civil rights lawyer and widower with a daughter living in a peaceful suburb of Albany New York.

The tranquillity of his existence was shattered when a young reporter, Ben Shepard, played by Shia LaBeouf, exposes his true identity. Fuelled by the arrest of a former member wanted for a murder by the FBI (Susan Sarandon), Shepard embarks on a quest to flush out the other members of the anti-war group called 'Weather Underground'.

It didn't take long before he uncovered Jim Grant, whose real name is Nicholas Sloane a former member and also a fugitive, wanted for murder. Despite warnings and threats from Shephard's Editor and the FBI, and knowing the significance of this national story that he had exposed and also aware of the opportunity to make a name for himself, Shephard relentlessly pursues Grant, who after more than 30 years disguised as a lawyer, has no choice but to set off on a cross-country trek, FBI in pursuit to find the only person, (Mimi Lurie, played by Julie Christie, another former member, who was Grant's previous love interest), who can prove his innocence.

In search for Mimi, he re-connects with previous members of the radical group. They were initially reluctant to assist him but like in most movement who is passionate to their cause, the camaraderie within are visible.

As Shephard eventually uncovers the dark secrets that Grant had been harbouring for the last 30 years, they both came face to face in the wilderness of the Peninsula of Michigan, thus realising the consequences of their actions and their need to uncover the truth of who they really are.

Right from the beginning, until the end, this movie will grip you to the edge of your seat.

The Company you Keep is a cat and mouse game between Jim Grant, who gave an outstanding characterisation of being a fugitive and Ben Shepard, the ambitious journalist who would do everything and anything to gain accolades. It reminded me of the vulturism within the media industry, although being vultures means the truth will prevail. I say, let it feast on the carcass. But I somehow beckon that in the end, it's himself that he needed to find. Although it is a recollection of the history of the radical antiwar movement between 1960's and the 1970's, this movie is purely fictional.

Robert Redford did not cease to deliver to perfection. Being the leading man and the director of the film, he was able to immerse himself into the character and at the same time having the vision of a director to envisage the end result of the film.

The performance of Susan Sarandon as Sharon Solarz is equally to behold. Her appearance was brief but left a remarkable impression of greatness. Such timeless beauty combined with intelligence that she applies in every movie that she stars in is admirable.

Ben Shepard – the hungry for fame journalist played by Shia Labeouf who claimed prominence due to his performance in Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Transformers series is a name to watch for. The complex character that he plays as Ben Shephard is not hopefully also played out in real life. In this politically inclined movie, he is motivated by fame and will do anything to achieve it. Once again, Shia delivered an incredible performance in this thought provoking film, and in the end will have the audience eating out at the palm of his hands.

I can't say enough compliments about the other cast members, except that I am awed.

So. Did Grant and Shepard find what they are searching for? This movie is full of surprises and plots that you will never expect Not letting on too much, take note of the interest Shepard had given towards a beautiful young lady, who in the movie is a student of law. It will leave you with the 'ahhhh' at the end of the movie. You will just have to watch it.

Overall, I can only think of three words to describe this film:
a. Powerful
b. Gripping
c. Sensational

What more can I say? The moment I walked into the vast room of the theatre, gigantic screen and the deafening sound, right from the start through the end, I did not move. I thoroughly enjoyed the experienced and will visit the cinema again.

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*Mila Wood was invited as a guest
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Why? Watch great movie starred by great actors and actresses of our time
When: From the 18th of April 2013
Phone: 02 8399 0626
Where: Cinemas near you
Cost: Varies
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