Go in ‘style,’ leave in disappointment
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When senior citizen Joe is at the bank dealing with inflated mortgage payments and other hidden fees, he suddenly finds himself in the middle of a bank robbery.
This experience gives him the idea to rob the bank himself in order to fix his financial problems. With his lifelong friends Will and Al — each with their own money troubles — the threesome cook up a scheme to steal back their rightfully-owed pension funds.
Facing the limits of old age and the risk of jail, the friends are determined to have one last adventure together that will end with them “Going in Style.”
This 2017 film is actually a remake of the 1979 film of the same name and mostly same premise. Director Zach Braff does an excellent job of updating this crime caper to current day, albeit leaving behind some of the more central and touching themes of the original.
With an eye for comedy, Braff sets up scenes and the overall tone of the film to be a safe, light-hearted venture about three elderly friends attempting to right the wrongs that have been done to them.
“Going in Style” is a simple premise with simple execution. This both helps and hinders the film. The realistic and down-to-earth setting and plotlines (as down-to-earth as old people robbing a bank can get) makes for a fun, passive flick. This setting provides the film’s three stars — Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin — with an entertaining vehicle through which to show off their acting skills.
But as mentioned before, Braff’s simplistic approach also hinders the film in the fact that it plays it too safe at certain points. In other words, there are comedic moments in the film, as well as dramatic scenes, where the film accomplished what it set out to do. However, there is an overall sense that Braff could have gone further — more zany, more heartfelt.
The story of “Going in Style” is fairly straightforward. Three old friends want to rob a bank to get back the pension funds their bank stole from them.
It doesn’t ask much of its audience other than to enjoy the hijinks that unfold. And it does end up being pretty amusing. There’s nothing in the film that will make you bust a gut laughing, but it will put a genuine smile on your face by the end of it.
There are a few hiccups, however, that detract rather than add to the story. Besides the three main friends, and a couple of other exceptions, the rest of the characters feel underwritten and cliché.
It seems that their only purpose is to fill a certain character type in the story. In this way, they serve their purpose, and the three stars at the center of the movie pick up all the slack. Still, it would have been nice if the side characters were as well rounded as the main ones.
Other than that, there is a romance that blossoms with Al, but ultimately feels tacked on and pointless by the end of the film.
The main trio of “Going in Style” are Michael Caine as Joe, Morgan Freeman as Willie and Alan Arkin as Al. These three are highlights of the film and the main reason to go see it. Their on-screen chemistry makes it abundantly clear just how much fun the actors had working together in their respective roles.
The rest of the cast falls into the shadow of the giants who take center stage, but they provide enough strength, even if they have less screen time than Caine, Freeman and Arkin.
“Going in Style” is an amusing and amiable heist movie. Its simple premise and execution makes it easy to watch, and the talent of its lead actors make it an engaging 90-minute runtime. But for those of you looking for a weightier, more complex comedy will want to look elsewhere.