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Going in Style

2017-04-28 06:54
 

What it's about:

Lifelong buddies Willie, Joe and Al, decide to buck retirement and step off the straight-and-narrow for the first time in their lives when their pension fund becomes a corporate casualty. Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, the three risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.

What we thought:

Most people just have to hear that Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman is starring in Going in Style and you already have half your audience on board. A remake from 1979, Going in Style is all about the star power and less about the plot, but for a paint-by-numbers heist film where you typically only get the full picture at the end, it’s entertaining enough to watch them attempt to break the law, while remaining impressed that 80-year-old actors can still bring the goods both in spoken and physical comedy. 

Joe (Caine), Willie (Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin) are old friends living out their days in retirement. But when their pension gets scrapped by their old employer and they stand to lose their homes, they decide to rob the bank that’s taken everything from them.

Though directed by Zach Braff who tends to be a bit more morose in his style, it’s not very unique in how the heist is set up, except that old men are pulling it off. What’s clear in the film’s agenda is the portrayal of the bank system, as a greedy unscrupulous system that never got what it deserved for breaking the American economy back in the 2008 financial crisis. Pensions were also one of the many casualties during that recession, so it feels quite apt that old people are the ones to take on the bank. Though this film is all about the comedy, you can’t ignore that big middle finger to banks in the background, and most audiences hold little love for that capitalistic system. 

Compared to the original, the new one has a less somber outcome for the three compatriots, and their motivation for pulling of the robbery was changed as well, so all in all quite different films with the same concept. The main appeal of the movie is its stars, iconic actors that these days rarely play the leads in films, and it’s quite pleasant to watch them have more lines to show off why the world loves them so. Caine and Morgan are known for their style and voices, whereas Arkin has a string of Oscar movies under his belt and will forever be known as the grumpy grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine. I can’t think of a better trio, and they really feel like old friends having a good time on screen, and it shows in their performances. 

Another plus for the film is its portrayal of old people, and though a few cliché stabs are taken at getting old, at least they have agency in their lives and are not made the fools for our entertainment. They even have a love scene shot the same way you would shoot a younger couple, and it’s not framed as ‘gross’, a trope that Hollywood loves using when old people fall in love. In this movie, old people rule and younger people are made to look like the idiots, serving an important lesson that society should do more to look after its elders. 

Going in Style is a fun comedy caper that, even though it doesn’t offer anything new to the genre, still offers a fun day out with your ageing grandparents or even parents. This movie is exactly as it seems, and if you feel like something wholesome (to some extent) with a good laugh then this is the one for you. If you want to wait for it to show on TV, that’s fine too. 


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