For 125 minutes, it really is about the cinematic company you keep. Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf are the stars of this drama about a fugitive turned small-town lawyer hiding in plain sight (under an alias, of course) and the cocky, smart young newspaperman on his trail.
But the reason to see this movie isn't so much the story but the dynamic cast assembled by Mr. Redford. In addition to hiring Richland singing prodigy Jackie Evancho to play his 11-year-old daughter, he secured Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Chris Cooper, Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Sam Elliott and Stephen Root.
The movie opens with the arrest of homemaker Sharon Solarz (Ms. Sarandon) for her role in a deadly Michigan bank robbery by the Weather Underground 30 years earlier. That cracks open the seal on the radicals and their anti-war actions decades earlier.
3 stars = Good
Robert Redford, Shia LeBeouf, Jackie Evancho, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte.
R for language.
When an ambitious reporter, Ben Shepard (Mr. LaBeouf), in Albany, N.Y., starts to pursue the story, he lands in the office of a widowed single father and lawyer living nearby.
When he discovers that Jim Grant (Mr. Redford) is not Jim Grant but a fugitive wanted for murder, he sets off to learn the truth -- and maybe make a name for himself, too. But Mr. Redford's character is on a journey of his own that will reconnect him to faces and places from the past.
"The Company You Keep," based on the 2003 novel by Neil Gordon and set in 2011, is more sprawling puzzle than cat-and-mouse thriller. One of its best scenes comes when the 20-something reporter sits down with Ms. Sarandon's unapologetic character and tries to understand what drove her radicalism and if she'd do it again.
The key players weigh who they were, who they are and if their militant fires burn as brightly -- and that includes the reporter's pursuit of a national story that could change the trajectory of his career and his life.