Star Rating:

The Old Man 16+

Streaming On: Watch The Old Man on Disney+

Actors: Jeff Bridges, John Lithgow, Amy Brennerman, Alia Shawkat

Release Date: Wednesday 28th September 2022

Genre(s): Drama, Thriller

Jeff Bridges is still going strong over 60 years into his career, and 'The Old Man' reminds us why he is a favourite actor of so many people to begin with.

Bridges stars as Dan Chase, a former CIA operative who is living a simple, hassle-free life and is looking to put his action man days behind him.

Like all great thrillers, there is an incident that sparks the call to action, and the excellent John Lithgow is the FBI man on the other end of the line looking to track down Bridges.

This cat-and-mouse dynamic is what informs and drives the drama of 'The Old Man', and it makes for great viewing.

The promise of 'The Old Man' is the potential for two titans of the silver screen facing off like Pacino and De Niro in 'Heat', and the build-up to the two meeting is pulled off masterfully.

Bridges goes on the run with Amy Brenneman's divorcee Zoe, while John Lithgow uses the resources of the FBI to get his man.

The supporting cast for 'The Old Man' is absurdly stacked, with Alia Shawkat turning in a great performance as Lithgow's protege, the legendary Joel Grey in fine form as a CIA man and 'Succession' star Hiam Abbass in a role that is like a less biting Marcia Roy.

Fans of 'The Wire' will also to see Chris from 'The Wire' show up as a hitman sent to dispatch of Bridges.

The show cuts back to younger versions of Bridges and Lithgow in their operative heyday, and the actor who plays the younger John Lithgow, Christopher Redman, deserves special praise for his uncanny impression of Lithgow.

Bridges is able to switch from tender and vulnerable to the steely-eyed action man Dan Chase in the blink of an eye, and it is a testament to his acting prowess that he can add something more to the character that wasn't necessarily written on the page.

The Oscar winner has been off our screens since 2018's 'Bad Times At The El Royale', and his performance here takes on extra subtext and poignancy with his recent battle with cancer.

Bridges is an old man with his past behind him, but he is still able to deliver the goods when it matters the most.

Even when sitting down, there are very few actors capable of captivating the audience like Jeff Bridges.

A great test of an actor is how they play off animals like dogs or cats, and the very best actors can make them an extension of themself.

In this instance, Bridges' chemistry with two very good dog actors is another reminder to the audience that Jeff Bridges can make just about anything look effortlessly cool and classy.

It is wonderful to be reminded just how extraordinary an actor Jeff Bridges is, and 'The Old Man' is a great showcase for his talents.

The other side of the coin is the one and only John Lithgow.

Lithgow continues his incredible run of never turning in a bad performance on screen, and his controlling Harold Harper is one of his best performances in a career full of great turns.

Famous for playing grumps or people with slowly building tempers on screen, Lithgow is pitch perfect in his role as Harold Harper, and Lithgow is perhaps the only actor who can ratchet up tension from being on the phone with an unseen caller.

Lithgow is similar to Bridges where his personal life becomes mixed up with his work life, and watching him lose control of the situation while trying to remain cool is grounded by another great Lithgow performance.

As stated, the promise of seeing these two Hollywood legends face off is a major driving force in the show, and 'The Old Man' couldn't have picked two finer actors to anchor the show with.

'The Old Man' has been categorised as a "boomer thriller" by other outlets, but that isn't doing the show justice.

Granted, the show does lean into the generic thriller cliches every so often, and is fond of using flashbacks like the later seasons of 'Lost', but there is enough craftsmanship involved here to make the show an engaging, easy watch.

There are so many moving pieces in 'The Old Man', and to the show's credit, it takes its time to establish all the moving pieces and regularly checks in with characters to make sure the show doesn't become too confusing to follow.

At its best, 'The Old Man' recalls the best episodes of 'The Americans', and there is a fight sequence in the first episode directed by Jon Watts of the Tom Holland 'Spider-Man' films that is some of the most brutally satisfying and tense action on the small screen in a long time.

The sequence is lit only by the backlit of a car on a dark desert night, and Watts shows more spark and ingenuity in this one fight sequence than he did in 3 'Spider-Man' films.

Seeing Jeff Bridges in action is a thrill, and while the show only pulls the Jeff Bridges, action hero card rarely, it is a treat when he gets to show off his action chops.

'The Old Man' has the same appeal as reading a thriller novel by the pool on holiday, but in this case, it's an exceptionally well-made and well-cast one.

Some of the dialogue can be a bit heavy-handed and starts throwing around acronyms like a Michael Mann film, but the acting helps elevate what easily could have been another generic, run-of-the-mill thriller.

'The Old Man' is similar to 'Top Gun Maverick' where if you really zoom out and take a look at the story and genre trappings, it is a fairly run-of-the-mill thriller, but when you add in two Hollywood legends and an impeccable supporting cast, you get a great show.

The streaming era has been guilty of giving some of our best stars big, glitzy projects that sink without a trace, but 'The Old Man' has enough gravitas behind it in front and behind the camera to make it sing.

The show has recently been renewed for a second season, and the prospect of seeing Jeff Bridges as the grizzled man on the run for a few seasons of television is music to our ears.