Going in Style: Film Review
Cast: Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Dillon, Ann-Margret
Director: Zach Braff
For an audience of a certain age, the movie-going experience can sometimes be a bewildering one.
Wishing for more gentle fare perhaps is what's led to the release and remake of the little known 1979 caper film Going in Style with an older cinema alumni aimed at giving the older generation something to enjoy, rather than the non-stop barrage of blockbuster action.
Caine, Arkin and Freeman star as Joe, Al and Willie, a clutch of retirees who are rocked by the news their pension fund from the manufacturing company they've worked at all their lives is being seized. Having recently been a bystander in a robbery at his bank, Joe decides that the group should risk it all to pull off a similar heist to ensure their final days are given a degree of comfort after they've been financially screwed over.
Going in Style is less The Italian Job, more a stuttering OAP job.
Granted, with growing enmity toward the corrupt banking sector, and even a swipe at pension thefts and the average Joe getting shafted by those they've worked for for years, Going in Style had the potential to have a bit of a modern sting in its admittedly broad-brush strokes execution.
Former Scrubs actor and Garden State director Zach Braff brings little to the directorial table other than a simple presentation of the narrative, and even peppering the entire film with an upbeat jazzy OST throughout doesn't help it feel like anything other than a pill-induced high.
Admittedly, one "chase" sequence involving an OAP speedster mechanical cart, a security guard and a bag of flour provokes some laughs, a sort of slow-mo race for the older generation, but the laughs are few and far in between.
And while the trio get to play to their erstwhile strengths (Caine's insistence that one should "stay in the bloody car", Arkin's continuing cantankerous old man schtick and Freeman's ever-present geniality), there's a terrifying feeling this bunch of old timers have been handed better fare in their acting years and are simply schilling themselves for scraps.
Though, while there will be some who feel the pangs of recognition as the trio watch trash TV like The Bachelor and discuss its lack of merits, there's little for a younger audience in this movie who would benefit from some of the messages within - unless you wish to see the great actor Michael Caine attempting to smuggle Spam out of a shop.
It's not a terrible film in many ways (though Christopher Lloyd's alarming turn as a dementia patient is terrifying for all the wrong reasons), and it's competently put together, but it just lacks panache and substance, even in its swirling recreation of the actual heist.
But in the final stretches, this bland script from Hidden Figures scribe Theodore Melfi doesn't really garner the protagonists a redemptive arc that feels earned; it's simply a case of playing on the fact you wouldn't want your own grandparents to be screwed over, and unfortunately, that doesn't feel enough to warrant the film's conclusion or the journey within.
A bland and generic mishmash of heist films and buddy antics, Going in Style lacks the substance needed, the poignancy that should have been deserved or the sentiment required to give these old timers the send-off they're clearly aiming for.