A remake of a 1979 film of the same name (starring George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg), Going in Style is a fun and poignant film about friendship, family, and taking what one is owed.
Most of the build-up of the film is time spent constructing our three main characters, played by today’s most well-renowned old guys: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin. Their motivations behind devising this big heist, as well as cementing their very believable friendship on-screen, is well-done and makes for some good, wholesome fun. These three are at their finest, playing…themselves, essentially. I really feel for their characters, especially as the heist (and other things) don’t really go according to plan; as the climax comes and goes, tension heightens, and the pay-off is just as emotional.
Lots of laughs permeate this film, too. Witty writing makes for an exciting, Ocean’s-style jaunt, as well as a timely critique on the banking system and the state of the world, writ large. The Manhattan setting could really be anywhere, as the setting isn’t really placed center-stage; the bank is fictional, and it’s not like these guys are living on Central Park West. The lives and routines that these three guys go through really feel lived-in and familiar. This “real life” that the filmmakers seek to create is crafted carefully and conscientiously with every little detail presented on-screen, down to the characters’ signature looks.
I was really pulling for these three to succeed in their heist; as I said—and as the trailer shows—their situation forces their hand. The heist, itself, is planned out very entertainingly, and the Now You See Me-esque segment explaining how, exactly, they pulled it off afterward brought a wide smile to my face. However, the heist is not the climax—that carries on well-after the robbery takes place, and the whole situation really gets down to the wire, as far as tension is concerned. It made the sigh of relief I breathed following that particular scene so earnest.
While this can be construed as a “senior movie”, this film really is fun for the whole family. Be warned, though, parents that this PG-13 film does get its use out of its cuss allotment. These are potty-mouthed old men that, I’ll say, deserve their fair share of swears. With an ensemble cast—including, but not limited to, Joey King, Ann-Margret, and Peter Serafinowicz—there’s no shortage of well-fitting roles for the actors involved.
Only an hour and thirty-six minutes in length, the amount of content for the run-time is exceptional. The film doesn’t feel like it’s moving too fast or too slow, and there are plenty of emotional moments—from the tear-jerking kind to the more chuckle-worthy—to keep a healthy pace. A surprise appearance from Matt Dillon—not a cameo, but not a full-fledged part, in my book—adds a self-satirizing angle to the whole cops-n-robbers theme, as the less-than-bright detective at the head of an equally-befuddling investigation.
Full of humor, heart, and humanity, Zach Braff’s Going in Style remake receives a *****/ final ‘Risk Assessment from me.
Next review: Gifted