As a feature film director, Scrubs star Zach Braff has previously helmed the quirky indie comedies Garden State and Wish I Were Here. He’s gone far more mainstream with Going In Style, a movie that could have perhaps benefitted from a quirkier spirit.
The movie is a remake of a 1979 film that starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, who have here been replaced by Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin. The three men are lifelong friends whose old age is being put in jeopardy by shady corporate goings-on that are set to rob them of their pensions.
After Joe (Caine) witnesses a bank robbery, he decides that’s the answer to their problems. He enlists the uncertain Willie (Freeman) and Albert (Arkin) to help him plan and execute a bank heist. Having seen it done, Joe doesn’t think the actual robbery will be too difficult, although he does know getting away with it may be tough, especially with an FBI Agent (Matt Dillon) already after the first robbers.
Going In Style is the sort of movie that solely want to be inoffensive, escapist entertainment. It manages that, almost completely reliant on the wit and camaraderie of its illustrious acting legend leads (each of them an Oscar winner). However, it cannot escape that there’s very little too it. Indeed, it often seems to deliberately downplay the stakes and danger, and even when its revealing how the heist was pulled off, it’s a little lacklustre.
It’s all very amiable, but at the end it’s likely to elicit the response – is that it?
There’s also a slightly contradiction in that while on the surface it’s a movie that seems to want to say older people are still smart, capable and shouldn’t just be overlooked, while also leaning on the idea that the audience will think these are a bunch of old duffers we should sympathise with in a slightly patronising way. In fact, there’s a sense throughout that with a bit more thought about the logic of what it’s doing and more trust in just how good that actors involved are, it could have been so much more than it is.
Overall Verdict: An amiable nature and great camaraderie from its three leads help ensure this rather uninspired heist movie is still quite fun.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac