It’s easy to laugh at ageing movie stars. Crumbs, when they make films like The Expendables they actively encourage us to make jokes about creaking joints and dicky hips. But let us pause for a moment and salute the longevity of one of the greatest movie stars there ever was, someone who was headlining box office smash hits when Arnold was still just pumping iron and Bruce was still at High School.
Robert Redford – the “Sundance Kid” – is 76 years old and in his new film, The Company You Keep, he does quite a bit of running around even though you can see he has the slightly uncertain gait of someone whose balance isn’t what it was. He rations out that million dollar smile pretty carefully too, as this is another of his serious politically-aware dramas – couched in the form of a thriller.
Several times during the creepy psychological, paediatrical, thriller Joshua, stressed parents Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga are told to “just get a nanny”. If only they had, they may have got Scarlett Johansson and Joshua would have become a romantic comedy with a bit of soft social commentary. Instead, they plough on parenting proudly, heedless of the damage being done by troubled elder-son Joshua (Jacob Kogan), until it is too late.
Rockwell and Farmiga are a wealthy Manhattan couple. He investment banks for bully Chester Fields (Michael McKean from Spinal Tap) while she unravels at home. When new baby Lily arrives 9 year old Joshua, a strangely self-possessed preppy child with that inability to blink that in Hollywood usually signals significant psychological disorder or demonic possession, starts systematically destroying the family – including pets and grandmothers – in order to preserve it.