A cranky old codger is forced to come out of retirement, except this isn’t any ordinary pensioner: he’s a crack spy.
How easy it must have been to sell The Old Man to TV executives with a hook like that.
Surely they were imagining an action comedy where a gnarled former secret agent in comfortable trousers takes a break from watching Cash In The Attic to judo a henchman off a roof?
Instead they got something very different.
Jeff Bridges is the Old Man in question, a former CIA killer in hiding with his sick wife who is prompted to return to the old ways when he’s targeted by ex-boss John Lithgow.
There aren’t many laughs here at all, in fact. Instead this unfolds with the patience and contemplativeness of a Cormac McCarthy novel: in long scenes, the camera fixes on Bridges and Lithgow as they deliver thoughtful observations of lives filled with loss, regret and trying to leave behind something of worth.
All the while, the Old Man flees across a cold America and strangles assassins. It’s a bit like if On Golden Pond had a philosophical Jason Bourne as its main character.
As well as fine performances by Lithgow and Bridges, Alia Shawkat is excellent here too.
The Old Man is a series that is prepared to spend time meditating on its characters. You should too.
The Old Man Disney+
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