A group of senior citizens decide that a life worth living is a life worth risking, in this heartfelt and surprisingly hilarious take on geriatric criminality.
During a visit to his bank, where Joe (Michael Caine) is trying to find out why his mortgage repayments have tripled, it is robbed. As he watches the seemingly quick and simple way the armed robbers turn two minutes’ work into a two-million-dollar haul, he is inspired.
When his pension—and that of his best friends Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Albert (Alan Arkin)—is cancelled, Joe decides it’s time to take action. What begins as a fanciful idea soon takes firm root, as his life, and that of his daughter and granddaughter, seems increasingly under threat.
Rather than lose his home and the few dignities and pleasures that remain, Joe decides to risk everything. Enlisting Willie and Albert, and gaining insights from the only dodgy character he knows (his former son-in-law), he begins his criminal apprenticeship in disastrous fashion, by attempting to shoplift at the local supermarket.
It goes horribly wrong, but the lessons learned help him to devise a better plan before finally taking on the bank.
Going in Style offers a warm observation of the often terrible way we often treat our elders. Whether it’s the once-yearly visit Willie gets with his granddaughter, or the cancelling of a pension earned over thirty years of hard labour and dispensed with due to globalisation, director Zach Braff’s critique of modern society is cutting.
Thankfully, it’s also pretty funny. Where others have tried and failed, Braff manages to tell a story about seniors in a way that’s both endearing and poignant, while maintaining enough humour to carry it through. The addition of Christopher Lloyd, as the dementia stricken, slightly crazed retirement village regular and Ann-Margret’s senior sex kitten, only add to the wonderful array of performances that elevate this criminal comedy.
Going in Style is a reboot of the 1979 original, and while it’s been successfully updated for today’s audiences, it’s clear our failings to provide true care for our elderly remain just as pertinent today as they were a generation ago.
If you’ve ever flirted with the idea of going out with a bang, this Going in Style will allow you to fulfil that fantasy, without the real life repercussions of a life behind bars.
There is a sweetness and a sadness to this film, but it is essentially a light-hearted piece with plenty of laughs to enjoy.
Director: Zach Braff
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Michael Cain, Alan Arkin
Runtime: 96 mins
Release Date: April 20
Reviewer Rating: 3/5