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Film Review: Three old-timers rob a bank in “Going in Style”

Grade: B-

A remake of the 1979 heist film, “Going in Style” is a modernized but equally whimsical retelling of three elderly men who decide to rob their bank. The film, which stars the man who’s more known for his voice than his persona, Morgan Freeman, as Willie, as well as notable actors Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as Joe and Albert, respectively, creatively characterizes their struggles of retirement after the men lose their pensions during the restructuring process of their former employer. The combination of these three old actors, along with the story to fit them, makes this film stand out. But, of course, who would not want to go see a flick with the voice of “God” in it?

It’s important to take this movie for what it is worth. It did not debut during the dog days of summer with all of the popular blockbusters, nor did it debut during the holidays. That means Warner Bros. Pictures was not necessarily planning on this film to be a huge commercial success—and it was surely not marketed to be. This is a tale chock full of laughs and mishaps, not to mention back pain. The plot is difficult to follow, but if you strip away all of the negative aspects of it and just focus on the laughs and subtle drama, it’s not so bad.

The characters run into financial woes after their former employer is bought out and stops dispersing their pensions. That would obviously make anybody very angry, but in order to resolve these issues and prevent Joe from foreclosing on his home, the trio hatches a plan to rob their own snobby bank. All of these issues are not fully addressed until about halfway through the movie’s runtime, which is incredibly annoying. Up until that point of realization, the movie seems utterly pointless, like you are literally watching an old man go about his daily life. However, when to story does start to grab you and pull you in, you start to understand its true objective.

Zach Braff was put in charge to direct “Going in Style.” You may remember him as J.D. on the comedy-drama television series “Scrubs.” His effort is evident—and so is his witty, pun-filled humor. Despite this, the direction takes many confusing twists and turns before eventually lurching right into the heat of the action near the end. This keeps you interested, but the pacing is so questionable that it makes you want to remain numb to the story.

What “Going in Style” gives us is a sense of encouragement; that no matter what age you may be, you can still find ways to make a better life for yourself. Sometimes all it takes is a little guts, or in this particular case, a nothing-to-lose type of attitude. Advice on robbing banks might not be the kind of wisdom that parents want their parents passing down to their grandchildren, but at least it can be useful knowledge should they come across hard times. After all, you know what they say, “Like grandfather, like grandchild.”

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