The Old Man and the Gun is the perfect film for Robert Redford to say goodbye to acting. David Lowery’s (A Ghost Story, Pete’s Dragon, which also starred Redford) film about an aging gentlemen bank robber with loads of good looks, a warm smile, and disarming charisma is an one the nose correlation to Redford’s whole screen career. This is the Sundance Kid with the Hole in the Wall (now appropriately called the Over the Hill) gang minus Butch Cassidy forty years on.
Robert Redford being Robert Redford makes for the ideal Robert Redford movie and Lowery obviously knows the truth in that redundancy. All he had to do is to steal the closest true life Redford match he could find, pad it out with a little romance (via an incandescent Sissy Spacek performance), a lot of nostalgia and a little mythic aura and sit back and bask in the glow of audience and critical approval. Being Robert Redford makes life easy for everyone involved with him.
All the bank heists have the aura of Redford publicly going to the local branch to cash his retirement checks. He doesn’t do it for the money. He does it for his fans.
The Old Man and the Gun even has a non-ironic Oscar in memoriam montage composited out of every remotely applicable Redford Western and prison movie.