Opening 25 Jul 2013
“What about you, what are you willing to take a risk for?” Sharon (Susan Sarandon) peacefully asks the young, obnoxious Albany (New York) Sun Times reporter. Ben (Shia LaBeouf), undeterred, is on the trail of what could be a career-making exposé, concerning members of the once radical, now defunct Weather Underground group. For thirty years the FBI has been after W.U. fugitives for murdering a bank guard during a robbery. When local attorney Jim Grant (Robert Redford) declines taking Sharon’s sensational case, Ben’s curiosity is piqued. He starts digging into backgrounds, uncovers some surprises, and ultimately catches the attention of the revenge motivated FBI task force leader (Terrence Howard). Forced underground, Grant’s quest competes with time.
This film exemplifies Robert Redford’s forte as a skilled director, and actor. He smoothly leads us through the multifaceted screenplay by Lem Dobbs, based on Neil Gordon’s novel. The characters may be fictional, however the Weather Underground were very real – university student activists against the Viet Nam war and the political shenanigans surrounding it. Kudos goes to the entire production team, and the talented cast for their restrained, brilliant performances. To learn more about the Weathermen, get hold of my friend Sam Green’s award winning and 2004 Oscar© nominated documentary, The Weather Underground. It is a well-balanced, candid account of the racial/politico/social issues in the late 1960s – early 70s. Oftentimes going back in history brings us full circle to the present. (Marinell Haegelin)