Two Redfords In One

“Actor-director Robert Redford used his opening address at the Sundance film festival last night to add to the pressure on Hollywood to rein in its depiction of gun violence in the wake of the Newtown school massacre,” the London Guardian reported in January.

The Guardian failed to mention that Redford’s next film, due out in American theaters early next month, is a homage to Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground. When it played the Venice Film Festival in September, Time magazine gave it a boffo review: “Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep: Old Radicals Die Hard”:

For how many decades of your life do you have to be the person you were in your twenties? Small-town lawyer Jim Grant (Robert Redford) wonders that when he hears the news that Susan Solarz (Susan Sarandon), a long-ago member of the Weather Underground who has lived incognito as a quiet housewife and mother, had been arrested and charged with murder for her radical activities in the ’70s. For Jim, the question is not academic. Under his real name, Nick Sloan, he had been one of Solarz’s comrades in the bombings of government buildings at exactly that period when political idealism soured into potentially lethal criminality.

This film sounds like the bomb!*

Time’s review adds, “The Company You Keep is streaked with melancholy: a disappointment that the second American Revolution never came…” I wonder if Time realizes the implications of those words, even as employees of Time-Warner-CNN-HBO continuously attack those Americans who would seek to defend themselves if it ever did.

Fortunately, to borrow a phrase used by one of Ayers’ acquaintances, Michelle Malkin and Sean Hannity rhetorically punch back twice as hard at Redford’s moral equivalency; watch the video at The Right Scoop.

More after the page break.

Redford's pro-Weathermen film was originally shot in 2011, and Kathy Shaidle was writing about it when it was previewed at Sundance in January of 2012:

Over twenty years after Running on Empty came out and more than ten years after Bill Ayers told The New York Times (in its 9/11/01 morning edition, no less) that he regretted not setting more bombs, Robert Redford’s next movie sees him playing “a fugitive Weather Underground radical who has been in hiding for 30 years.”

I suppose it makes for a nice change from Weather Underground radicals who teach at major universities and hang out with the president.

No doubt when the film, called The Company You Keep, tanks at the box office, Redford will issue a condescending statement bemoaning the ignorance of America’s moviegoing public. Thank God he doesn’t have to rely on us plebes, though. The 2012 Sundance Festival has just wrapped up, but it doesn’t take a weatherman to know which movie will top next year’s roster.

I wonder if the gap between when it was originally filmed, when it was previewed at Sundance and its opening in American theaters means that a lot of editing has been going on in an effort to salvage the film. That could also explain its relatively low rating at IMDB -- 6.3 on a scale of one to ten -- and IMDB readers definitely tend to grade on a curve -- as of the time of this post.

Incidentally, this isn’t the first Hollywood film that’s a paean to the Weathermen; 1988′s Running on Empty was directed by the late Sidney Lumet and starred otherwise good guy actor Judd Hirsch in the Ayers-inspired role of a former terrorist on the lam.

Update: This headline was inevitable: "Robert Redford writes off Bob Woodward." So for Redford these days, it's Bill Ayers, Si, Woodward, No.

"The Company You Keep," indeed.

* To paraphrase the late Andrew Breitbart’s remarks in response to the dinner that Ayers himself served him, after the Daily Caller pledged the most in a fundraiser to win a surreal dinner date with Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn early last year.

(Cross-posted at

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