Shia LaBeouf in a scene from the movie The Company You Keep.
Shia LaBeouf in a scene from the movie The Company You Keep. Doane Gregory - Contributed by Madman media website

Movie review: The Company You Keep

ROBERT Redford's latest directorial effort is a tense, well-written cat-and-mouse game.

The Company You Keep, based on Neil Gordon's novel, follows young journalist Ben Shepard as his investigations into the arrest of a wanted member of the militant group the Weather Underground uncovers other members in hiding.

Redford also stars in the film as Jim Grant, a local Albany lawyer and widower with an 11-year-old daughter.

The decision of Sharon Solarz (Susan Sarandon) to turn herself in, 30 years later, sparks a chain of events that sends Robert Redford's character on the run and LaBeouf's young reporter hot on his heels.

It's hard, as a journalist, not to relate to LaBeouf's Shepard, from his eagerness to prove himself to his editor to his excitement at breaking a national news story.

Shepard is like a terrier that has caught a scent, so dogged is his determination to get access to sniff out what he can sense is a good story.

The script seems to be in two minds: lamenting the state of modern journalism with lines like "so there are rules for what you guys do", while at the same time championing LaBeouf's investigative efforts which propel so much of the storyline.

While the overall plot of this fugitive/political thriller is good, there are some scenes which build up the suspense only to fall over with no satisfying climax.

There's little action, aside from few key scenes, for a film featuring a nation-wide FBI manhunt.

The best part of the film for me was Sarandon's jailhouse interview with LaBeouf.

Even though her character is handcuffed and seated, Sarandon has a strong physical presence as she tries to get her message across to Shepard, the only person she believes is truly listening.

The Company You Keep is not Redford's biggest directorial triumph but it's still a pretty good movie.

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The Company You Keep

  • Stars: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Brendan Gleeson.
  • Director: Robert Redford
  • Rating: M
  • In cinemas: April 18
  • Stars: 3/5