Robert Redford is not only a brilliant actor, he's also a quite talented director. However, his last film, the Lincoln assassination legal drama The Conspirator, was, to put it diplomatically, a tad on the slow side; a fine example of why some historical events are best left to the written word and not the big screen. His newest film, however, certainly looks like it's trying to avoid that same fate.
The Company You Keep is still a politically minded thriller, but this time out Redford has decided to liven things up by mixing history with modern-day politics. Written by Lem Dobbs (Haywire, The Limey, Dark City), the film tells the story of an ex-member of the radical group the Weather Underground (played by Redford) who must go on the run after an aspiring journalist (Shia LaBeouf) discovers his identity. At various points along the way the two must deal with the likes of Terrence Howard, Susan Sarandon, Chris Cooper, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Stanley Tucci, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins, Brendan Gleeson, Stephen Root and Sam Elliott. Apparently when Robert Redford asks you to be in a movie, you say yes.
The Company You Keep will make its premiere in a week at the Venice Film Festival, and from there it goes to the Toronto International Film Festival (though word has it that it's likely to show at this weekend's Telluride Film Festival, which always keeps its lineup a secret). But don't worry about this having a long life at festivals before finally coming out where the rest of us can see it. Sony Pictures Classic has already acquired the film before it even hit the fest circuit, and while they haven't pegged it with a release date yet, given who is in it and how good it looks, it's unlikely they'll keep it on a shelf for long.