By Emma Juchau,
Following the story of three retired factory workers turned bank robbers, “Going in Style” tackles crippling financial struggles with humor, and with three Oscar-winning actors starring, the film was bound to be a success. Michael Caine (Joe), Morgan Freeman (Willie) and Alan Arkin (Al) are truly the perfect trio, making the on-screen camaraderie of three lifelong friends all the more real. This heartwarming reboot of a 1979 film of the same title is a modern treasure.
The film begins with Joe receiving a foreclosure notice from his bank. While meeting with his banker, three armed robbers take control of the bank, stealing millions in cash. After receiving yet another foreclosure notice, Joe is inspired by the actions of the robbers and proposes the idea to his friends.
At first, the others are horrified, but as we learn more about their personal struggles, the characters begin to warm to the idea. Tasked with the difficult job of figuring out exactly how to rob a bank, the trio goes through a series of practice-runs and lessons to prepare for the big heist.
The combination of “misbehaving” old men and realistic life’s struggles is a heartwarming yet humorous one. Filled with quippy lines, silly antics and flat-out funny moments, “Going in Style” is a bundle of laughs.
“Going in Style” isn’t the typical “comedic” collection of dirty jokes and crude humor, however. Instead, the classic actors prove there’s still something special about the old-timey humor presented in the film.
Freeman portrays a character not unlike Carter Chambers, his character in “The Bucket List” (2007). Facing a dire medical condition both Joe and Carter find themselves trying to make the most of the time they have left. The difference being that Carter chooses to live out his last days crossing off items on his bucket list, whereas Joe chooses to rob a bank so he can afford more regular visits with his family.
Caine’s character embodies a different struggle in attempting to provide for his single daughter and granddaughter. With the threat of losing his house and his pension, Joe is the true mastermind behind the trio’s plans.
Arkin, on the other hand, seems to wrestle with purpose more than anything else. Al is the “Debbie Downer” of the film, the realist—pessimistic in his age and just waiting to die, as he puts it. Al turns out, however, to be the boldest of the three. It seems to him that he has nothing to lose.
Though the film is a comedic caper of a movie, the seriousness of their actions doesn’t escape these characters. Recognizing the cost and the potential consequences of their behavior, their decision is made very carefully.
Writer Theodore Melfi and Director Zach Braff have brilliantly crafted a film that both tackles the difficulty of life and the humor of growing old.