Friday, 7 April 2017

'Going In Style' (2017) Review: Old Dogs, Not So New Tricks

'Catch It On Cable': Definitely better than it has any right to be, but it never quite warrants a trip to the cinema.

Imagine at the end of your life, after working yourself down to the bone, the people you dedicated your life to suddenly turn around and put you out to pasture. That's the scenario for the heroes of 'Going In Style' Joe, played by Michael Caine, Albert, played by Alan Arkin, and Willie, played by Morgan Freeman. After 30 years at the same company, the trio is swindled out of their hard-earned pension. Down on their luck, at their wit's end, and not enough time to start over, they decide to do the only logical thing they can think of. Rob a bank.

Before reading any further, if the idea of 3 men in their late 70s planning and performing a bank heist is too much for you to swallow, this is not the film for you. I myself had to seriously suspend my disbelief just to suffer the premise. Once I did that though, I found myself seriously enjoying a movie that I did not expect to.

We'll call this the 'Sing' effect.
Most of that is due to the sheer level of class brought by the cast here. 'Going In Style' is not the first film to bring together a premier cast of actors of a certain age. Usually, those movies are less an embarrassment of riches, and just plain embarrassing. This time though, the performances of Caine, Arkin and Freeman actually feel wonderfully understated. They give these characters life and make their stories tremendously relatable. 

Not only are the characters easy to get behind, but the film has its fair share of laughs. It's not every day you see Morgan Freeman being pushed in a motorized shopping cart. There's the odd joke here and there that doesn't exactly land, but overall, there were far more hits than misses. It helps that the supporting cast is chock full of heavy hitters. Christopher Lloyd and Kenan Thompson are far from the bottom of the barrel. Funny considering Kenan Thompson used to live at the bottom of the barrel.

2004 was a weird time.
Even though it's a comedy, 'Going In Style' has a plentiful helping of pathos. It dives headfirst into the heartbreaking stories of the men that drive them to a life of crime. As emotional as it can get, the movie never forgets that it's a comedy. You'll get moments where it just about steps into the deep end but quickly does a backflip into the kiddie pool. 

Of course, this is a heist movie, and the entirety of this review has yet to mention the heist itself. That's because the movie doesn't dwell on it too much. Since its protagonists are knock knock knocking on heaven's door, you can't exactly have them pulling any over the top stunts. Plus, the best heist movies work with an element of tension. By the time the heist comes around, you pretty much knew how the movie was going to end, 20 minutes prior. It has as much tension as a loose ball of yarn.

But not as much tension as this gif of a puppy, trapped in a loose ball of yarn. 
The downside to 'Going In Style' is that it doesn't feel very fresh. It's certainly better than I anticipated, but ultimately, it's a movie that you wouldn't miss much by staying at home. While the actors certainly elevate their roles, it still remains the feel-good movie that lightly tugs at your heart strings, playing a safe inoffensive song. 

Rating: Catch It On Cable



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