Many remember the days of riots and ruination; 1968, the Democratic Convention in Chicago gave birth to the “Chicago 7”, “Weatherman” “Weather Underground”, “Revolutionary Youth Movement”; sad, delusional, debilitating time when young people worldwide violently protested America’s involvement in Vietnam; a war that altered America forever; creating the division between modern and post modern society; people of promise, jailed or living lives of manufactured identities.
“The Company You Keep” focuses on these ageing anarchists, shedding phony facades, examining former ideals, passions, convictions, thirty- plus- years after these catastrophic events. Robert Redford, at seventy-six, is a wonder; his craggy, still handsome face is a roadmap of memories; physically fit, jogs with the agility, dexterity of an athlete half his age. As “Jim Grant” a pseudonym he elected after his halcyon, revolutionary days; he practices law while trying to raise his eleven-year-old daughter (requires an imaginary leap); his charade, unmasked by reporter “Ben Shepard” (capable performance by bearded Shia LaBeouf); Jim flees, searching for the one person who can validate his innocence of a decades old robbery and murder, an ex-lover and former weatherman, “Mimi” (Julie Christi, miraculously defies the vicissitudes of age). Hence, the chase commences: the FBI, reporters, former radicals living productive, mundane existences, unearthed; all spewing liberal and conservative platitudes; the audience is subjected to nauseating political correctness.
Redford’s valiant effort to produce a thriller from the novel by Neil Gordon, lacks the intellectual helium to soar; listless, stale, wizened reminders of time’s destined role to bestow perspective, wisdom, eventual oblivion.