Starring: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin
Director: Zach Braff
Running Time: 96 mins
Going In Style is an American film about three elderly friends who, after learning that their pension is going to be taken from them, decide to launch a robbery on the bank that took their money from them.
This is a pretty fun film. Largely thanks to the effortlessly charismatic lead performances and chemistry throughout, but also because it’s a light-hearted, easy-going romp that will put a smile on your face for the best part of an hour and a half. Some of its direction and style does feel very dated and cheesy, occasionally taking away from some of the more organic comedy, but in general, Going In Style is simply a good bit of fun.
Let’s start with what really makes this film work, the performances. With three legendary actors in the lead roles, this film was always set to be great fun, and Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin are all hugely likable and as funny as always in each of their roles.
But beyond the individual performances, the chemistry between the leads is excellent. Some of these films that team up classic stars don’t quite pull it off so well, but the sense of camaraderie between the lead three, making their friendship and the lengths that they’re prepared to go to together all the more believable and entertaining to watch.
There is also a slightly more dramatic side to the story, much of which is spelled out in the film’s opening act, as we watch three elderly men who have worked all their lives being betrayed by their company and bank as their pension is taken away from them. Although it’s not a story line that has much emotional effect for the rest of the film, simply providing context for the robbery plan, there are moments early on when the Caine, Freeman and Arkin do a great job to show their characters’ extreme frustration at the situation.
In terms of the bank heist plot, it’s not quite as entertaining as you may expect, but with the three leads continually proving huge fun throughout, there’s still a lot of fun to be had. The early build-up to planning the robbery is actually a lot more interesting and entertaining than the actual heist, but what I was really impressed by was the way in which the film ties up all of the loose ends.
As these three are so likable, and not particularly malicious in their ambitions, you want to see them get away with the booty in the end. However, there’s still a degree to which you want to see them get their comeuppance, and that’s where the final act comes in, playing well on that dilemma in your head as they come ever closer to being rumbled and the whole plan going wrong.
Finally, the directing. Whilst Zach Braff does a good job to make this a light-hearted and entertaining watch throughout, as well as a coherent and engaging one, there were some parts of his directing that seemed a little off to me.
For one, the excessive use of triple split screen in numerous scenes became pretty annoying after a while, and some pretty generic and uninspiring music all played a little too loud and a little too often in certain sequences was very off-putting for me, all of which gave me the feel of an early 2000s buddy movie that just feels a little weak and cheesy nowadays.
Overall, I enjoyed Going In Style. It’s not a perfect film, and not always utterly enthralling, but it’s a very entertaining watch thanks to three excellent lead performances, as Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin shine as a team and as individuals throughout to make a light-hearted and fun watch, and that’s why I’m giving this a 7.2.