Film review: Going in Style (2017), directed by Zach Braff
During an unpleasant meeting with an uncaring bank manager (Josh Pais), Joe Harding (Michael Caine) is caught up in a bank robbery where three assailants make off with $1.6 million. The leader does seem sympathetic to the old man’s plight – the bank is planning on repossessing his house in a month, which would leave him, his daughter (Maria Dizzia) and granddaughter (Joey King) homeless.
Joe’s friend Willie (Morgan Freeman) finds out he needs a kidney transplant, which his financial situation won’t allow. It won’t even allow him to see his daughter (Gillian Glasco) and granddaughter (Ashley Aufderheide) other than over video chats.
In the midst of all this the company they used to work for is bought out and their pensions suddenly gone in the process. Joe, Willie and their friend Albert (Alan Arkin), a jazz legend now teaching kids how to play the saxophone, decide to get back at the very bank that stole their money – by robbing it. Cue a traditional heist movie, but at a slightly slower pace than you’re used to.
Going in Style is a remake of a film from 1979 with the same name. How it compares I have no idea. This came on late at night and I wasn’t planning on watching it, but was curious to know if maybe it was some kind of remake of a Belgian miniseries (also featuring a geriatric heist), and then it started out by being set at a prominent Brooklyn landmark, and being filmed entirely in Brooklyn and Queens I stayed for the scenery – and then because I really liked the film. The main three actors are cinematic legends. You even get Christopher Lloyd as a senile friend from their lodge!
I like that there’s a romantic subplot (featuring Ann-Margret, an employee at the mini supermarket the guys try to shoplift as practice) because it’s good to show that being of a certain age doesn’t mean you can’t have an active love life.
The film has a great supporting cast too, like Kenan Thompson (SNL) as a grocery store manager, Peter Serafinowicz as Joe’s former son-in-law who now runs a cannabis dispensary, Matt Dillon as the FBI agent in charge of investigating bank robberies, Siobhan Fallon Hogan as a waitress frustrated with the old-timers never being able to give her a decent tip, and John Ortiz as a pet store owner who may or may not have some criminal connections, because he sure does seem to know a thing or two about how you rob a bank …
One of the things I like about heist movies is how they’re always really clever in how they go about the heist. It’s fun to see all the puzzle pieces fit together. This one is no exception. How they manage to rob a bank with creaking knees and not the fastest reaction times is great fun. Going in Style is a charming and at times heart-warming film, and considering the current mood in both the UK and the US the thought of three underdogs robbing a bank means you’re really rooting for them to get away with it.
Plus the final scene is set in Prospect Park, so that’s always going to get a thumbs up.
4 out of 5 yellow t-shirts.