Saturday, July 22, 2017

'Going in Style' Is an Okay Heist Comedy Film

Three old men went to rob a bank.

That sentence seems to be the start of a joke, but that’s the premise of Going in Style.  Which makes sense anyway; it’s a comedy film after all.  In it, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin play a trio of senior citizen buddies who decide to rob the bank that screwed them of their pensions.

Going in Style is neither a brilliant comedy nor heist film.  It can even be argued that its average at best.  But it does have chuckles and heart.  There are some moments and pieces of dialogue where I laughed or had my heart strings pulled.
And the audience can sympathize with the protagonists.  Their situation is relatable since we all have our share of experiences – or know people who have – of being oppressed or put in a desperate situation by “The Establishment” in one form or another.  Hence, the narrative is somewhat enhanced by this “underdogs sticking it to the man” factor.  This, at the very least, makes the movie not boring.

Moreover, it stars legends Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman.  Their presence is always a good thing for a movie.  Their performances here are dignified and amiable, fulfilling the comedic requirements of their old men characters with grace, the antithesis of Robert De Niro in real life Dirty Grandpa.  Alan Arkin, though maybe less beloved than Caine and Freeman, is nonetheless as prolific as them as an actor.  He has displayed great proficiency in comedy in the past (e.g. Grudge Match), which he also did in this movie.  Christopher Lloyd also has a funny supporting role in it, as a senile member of the lodge the trio’s in.  It’s great to see him on screen, which is rare these days.
Going in Style is gently humorous and touching, and its leads are delightful.  It’s unremarkable, but it’s also easy and sufficiently entertaining to watch.  Sometimes, it’s okay for a movie to be just that.

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