Reviewing The Old Man and The Gun, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Shoplifters, on Plato’s Cave
This week on Plato’s Cave there is a running theme of robbery with films The Old Man and The Gun, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Shoplifters up for review. Directed by David Lowery, The Old Man and The Gun follows the real life story of American escape artist Forrest Tucker. The film stars Robert Redford as alongside Casey Affleck, Danny Glover, Tick Sumpter, Tom waits and Sissy Spacek. Shot on 16mm film, the movie has a grainy aesthetic similar to that of the New Hollywood movement of the 1970s with nostalgia playing a big part in its overall appeal.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs serves as a western anthology of short stories revolving around wanted cowboy Buster Scruggs, played by Tim Blake Nelson. Directed by the Coen brothers, the film featured at the 75th Venice Film Festival, taking home the Golden Osella Award for Best Screenplay. Tom Waits, James Franco, Liam Neeson, Zoe Kazan and Brendan Gleeson also feature throughout each of the six stories.
Shoplifters is set in Tokyo following the lives of a family struggling to live in an increasingly unstable economy. Exploring the measures that people will take in order to survive and provide for their loved ones, this film serves as a commentary of sorts on social issues like poverty. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival winning the Palme d’Or. Plato’s Cave presenter Lisa Kovacevic describes it as ‘both a humanistic portrait and somewhat of an indictment on a society so willing to cast struggling people aside.’