This is a story of the “gentleman bank robber”, Forrest Tucker who did his holdups in the early 1980’s. Robert Redford plays Tucker.
In this story, Forrest Tucker leads a life well-lived. He was charming and charismatic. Many of his victims who were interviewed reported that they really liked him. It seems no one held his profession against him or judged him for it, personally. If anything, some expressed envy at Tucker’s contentment and love of his work.
I mention this movie precisely because of this. I like him too. I was moved at his profound satisfaction with his work and his kind, charming demeanor.
One could say that any bank robber is a flawed human being. There is, perhaps, a dark side within him. One could say that he kept it up, against all odds for a good outcome, out of some sort of addiction. Perhaps the thrill.
The character himself expressed his motive as “just living”. No separation between himself and what he is doing, the life he is living. He expressed deep gratitude for the joy and pleasure that he experienced “just living”.
Taking a leap, I would take away two things from this story.
- Forrest Tucker’s example is a prescription for living. Of course, many things could go wrong. He was on the wrong side of the law and what most of us consider to be proper behavior. In this story, he leads a charmed life. Robbing, getting caught, going to prison, escaping and doing it again. Nothing really bad seemed to happen to him or his victims. What he experienced seemed to be simple joy.
- I would go further out on a limb to suggest that the story was also autobiographical (of Robert Redford), who is expressing his gratitude for his life well-lived, motivated by doing what he was best at and what he loved the most. If so, this takes the statement “I can’t believe they pay me to do this” to a new level. If true, maybe he is suggesting that he got away as a thief would, with something for nothing.