Three elderly men stand up against the injustices of faceless corporatism when they decide to rob a bank and take back what is owed them in heist comedy, Going in Style. Set in Brooklyn, this perfectly likeable remake of the 1979 film of the same name is directed by Zach Braff (Garden State, Wish I was Here), with a script adapted by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures).
Senior citizens and long time buddies, Willie (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Al (Alan Arkin) are plodding their way through retirement. Much of their time is spent hanging out together in genial companionship - playing bocce ball, sharing mealtimes at their local diner and watching TV. Joe, whose divorced daughter and teenage granddaughter, Brooklyn (Joey King) live with him, is struggling with his mortgage payments, Willie misses his family in LA and Al, the tetchier of the three, is a former musician who teaches sax to untalented pupils while fending off unwanted sexual advances from Annie (Ann-Margret).
When Joe visits his bank to discuss his crippling financial situation, he witnesses a successful raid. He later tells his pals, it was, “choreographed like a dance” and it plants an idea. Soon after, the trio learns that the steel company they had worked for has frozen their pension payments – as a result of corporate restructuring. Faced with the prospect of no money, their futures uncertain and for Joe, his house repossessed, they decide to take revenge and embark on a bank robbery of their own, stealing the money they earned from the bank that took it, giving any excess to charity.
The scheme gives the septuagenarians’ renewed purpose and meaning as they seek criminal assistance and plunge themselves into the unfamiliar territory of getaway cars and split second timing. Robbing a bank, they learn, is “an art form.”
Oscar winners, Caine, Freeman and Arkin are eminently watchable and there is a particularly easy - and at times - tender dynamic between Caine and Freeman, who have worked together many times before. There is also a strong supporting cast including Matt Dillon, Christopher Lloyd and John Ortiz but overall, despite some amusing visual gags such as the unusual sight of Morgan Freeman sitting in the basket of a motorised mobility scooter, this crime caper feels forced and sometimes sluggish with the ‘everyone deserves a piece of the pie’ metaphor a little overdone. Going in Style is no great social commentary but a feel good, saccharine film that raises more smiles than laughs.
Going in Style is on general from 7 April