The Company You Keep, which opens Friday at AMC Quail Springs Mall 24, 2501 W. Memorial, is boomer meditation disguised as political drama. Directed by and starring Robert Redford, it pretends to be ambivalent about the 1960s counterculture, but the reverence of the treatment suggests otherwise.
Last seen onscreen in 2007’s Lions for Lambs, Redford plays Jim Grant, a widower attorney suddenly ensnared by a troubled past when a member of the Weather Underground, a radical group from the Vietnam-protest era, is caught by the FBI. Jim isn’t who he claims to be. Instead, he is a former member of the extremists and has been on the lam for the 30-year-old murder of a Michigan bank guard.
As scripted in a preposterous yarn by Lem Dobbs (Haywire), Jim skips town, leaving his 11-year-old daughter (singer Jackie Evancho, in the film’s most appealing performance) in the care of his younger brother (Chris Cooper, The Muppets) while in hot pursuit by an FBI agent (Terrence Howard, Dead Man Down) and a newspaper reporter (Shia LaBeouf, Transformers: Dark of the Moon).
Bland characters and bloodless suspense receive no respite from an exceptional cast that includes Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Brendan Gleeson, Stanley Tucci, Sam Elliott, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling and Nick Nolte, the last of whom delivers his lines as if in the middle of a prolonged gargle. —Phil Bacharach