Review: Going in Style (2017)

Going in Style (2017)

Directed by: Zach Braff | 96 minutes | comedy, crime | Actors: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin, Ann-Margret, Joey King, Peter Serafinowicz, Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon, John Ortiz, Kenan Thompson, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Maria Dizzia, Katlyn Carlson, Josh Pais, Melanie Nicholls-King , Camiel Warren-Taylor, Doris McCarthy, Jeremy Bobb, Ashley Aufderheide

In recent years, there has been an increase in films in which elderly actors mock their own age. The subgenre places the oldies in situations that are normally intended for young people, with all the jokes that entails. Their flaws come under a magnifying glass, but because they eventually master the situation, they show that they can still be of value. This is regularly accompanied by some sentimentality, which reminds the viewer that not only these elderly film characters have their merits, but also the flesh-and-blood elderly. ‘Going in Style’ fits in seamlessly with this series, after films like ‘The Bucket List’ (Reiner; 2007), ‘The Expendables’ (Stallone; 2010) and ‘RED’ (Schwentke; 2010).

The seniors on duty here are Michael Caine (born 1933), Alan Arkin (1934) and the king of the sub-genre: Morgan Freeman (1937). The three are retired steel manufacturers with financial problems. Caine plays Joe, a loyal grumbler struggling to pay his mortgage. Just as his daughter and granddaughter have moved in with him, he is in danger of being evicted. Albert (Arkin) has found the woman of his dreams, but realizes that he can never take care of her because of his financial troubles. Finally, Willie (Freeman) finds out that failing kidneys mean he can’t live long. If a donor is not found quickly, the future does not look good. Moreover, a transplant costs money. Lots of money. When the pension of the three gentlemen threatens to expire, despair remains.

The moment Joe tries one last time at his bank to get out of his strangulation mortgage, the bank building is robbed. It gives him an idea. The bank robbers acted professionally. A man like him, full of life experience, should be able to do that. His friends initially don’t want to hear about it, but after their money problems only get bigger, they give in. Until that bank robbery, ‘Going in Style’ is a wonderful film. The joke density is high. The interaction between the three guarantees a range of finely biting dialogues with their age as direct object. The indictment against the banking and business world is also well presented, although the film sometimes resembles a Trumpian promo film from 50PLUS. Young people have to take care of the elderly, the banks take the money away from the elderly, industry moves to low-wage countries and pensions move with them. That work.

As ‘Going in Style’ progresses, the bank robbery slowly gains the upper hand. The film changes from senior comedy to heist movie. Although that produces enough exciting moments – a lot goes wrong of course -, the sharpness is lost. Then comes the realization that it is again older actors who carry the film. The actresses of that age, or even younger, are once again left out. That hurts. Hollywood can be much more innovative there.

Comments are closed.