Going in Style (2017)

  • Time: 96 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime
  • Director: Zach Braff
  • Cast: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin


A reboot of the 1979 movie that was directed by Martin Brest and featured George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg. Three seniors, who are living social security check to check and even reduced to eating dog food at times, decide they have had enough. So, they plan to rob a bank…problem is, they don’t even know how to handle a gun! A social commentary on growing old in America and what we are sometimes driven to, due to circumstances.


  • Zach Braff has directed three movies. They are Garden State, Wish I Was Here, and Going in Style. “Style” (my latest review) is the best out of all of them. It’s not as complicated, it’s more commercial, and it’s not quite as pretentious. Oh and Braff isn’t in front of the camera this time. Now does that make Going in Style a better film overall? Not necessarily. This is completely different fodder from what Zach has helmed in the past. “Style” as a spring comedy slash crime mantra, just wants to have a good time.

    Better than old timer foil like The Bucket List and Last Vegas, Going in Style has Braff channeling his inner Jon Turteltaub (minus the technological gadgets). There’s the film score by Rob Simonsen that sounds like erratic spy music. There’s also the fast cut editing and split screen shots detailing “Style’s” pivotal bank robbery (and bank robbery planning). Lastly, there’s the whole, we-get-it-you’re-old plot element vested upon us. In jest, a lot of Going in Style feels like you’re watching a comedic National Treasure complete with AARP interludes. Zach Braff casts three legendary actors (Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin) and with a breezily tone, makes them all seem likable.

    Distributed by Warner Bros. and shot around parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and summertime Manhattan, Going in Style is about three lifelong pals named Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine), and Albert (Arkin). They are insolvent, over the age of 75, and have their pensions revoked after the company they worked for, becomes restructured. Their solution and inspiration: Pull off a bank heist of over a million dollars with the guys wearing Rat Pack masks and donning firearms with blanks (examples of the Rat Pack are Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Joey Bishop). Look for a test robbery featuring Freeman and Caine knocking off a lowly supermarket. Also, be on the lookout for a scene where the three senior citizens toke up on some potent ganja (you know, the urban definition for weed).

    All in all, “Style” despite a small twist, comes off as predictable, a little too happy happy, and altogether trivial. Yup, not much feels at stake. However, it’s jolly, entertaining, and chuckled in a PG-13 sort of way. “Style” is a remake of a 1979 film saddled with the same title. I’ve never seen that George Burns vehicle and I may never see it (unless I decide to order the Blu-ray on Amazon). No matter. This new version of Going in Style probably has a “style” all its own anyway. Oh and I almost forgot, watch for famed actors Matt Dillon, Ann Margret, and Christopher Lloyd in small, supporting roles. They add to “Style’s” lighthearted fun. Rating: 3 stars.

    Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

    Check out other reviews on my blog: http://www.viewsonfilm.com

  • What in the world is funny in a movie if there aren’t any fart jokes or bad language or rude references to various body parts? What’s so funny? Life. In particular the lives of three older gentlemen who have had it up to here and set out to get their own back from the greedy, and younger, men who are trying to run things now without paying attention to who they hurt or how. I just read a column that said older people see more movies in movie theaters and it’s nice to see a movie that is geared for them. Going In Style is a situational comedy meaning the funny stuff comes from the story not from the wise cracks, stupid antics, and suggestive material but from the characters and the situations they find themselves in. Thus the name. It’s easier getting laughs by being a garbage mouth but with these three, or any one of them, the life they’re putting on film looks so real and you can identify with them, that the humor resonates and is not so easily forgotten.
    Theodore Melfi, the screenwriter, has done a very good job with Edward Cannon story. There are turns I never expected and turns I knew were going to happen but when they did it just wasn’t the way I thought it would be. And director Zach Braff keeps his cards close and doesn’t give anything away. These unexpected twists and turns made this movie fun from beginning to end. It’s also a great example of how to make a film comedy. Movie makers should be giving this film a good hard look.
    I would go see a movie with any one of these three great actors but all three is just fantastic. Morgan Freeman plays Willie with calm control but carries his secrets so the other two don’t find out. Michael Caine’s Joe is pushed into action but is able to see both sides of the results. Alan Arkin is irascible as Albert, playing him as if he’s mad at the world but the world still loves him. These three are believable because their interactions with each other are honest. That’s more than just the writing.
    Christopher Lloyd is hysterical as Milton, a man who isn’t always quite certain where he is or what he’s doing. Siobhan Fallon Hogan plays the waitress Mitzi and is great. I have in my life been a regular in places where there were Mitzis and her character is completely true to life. Ann-Margret, as Annie, is still very sexy and completely believable as an older woman. Matt Dillon plays the cop, Hamer, who knows who did what but can’t prove it. Hamer is going to catch the crooks but he also has a grudging respect for what they accomplished because he knows how hard it was to pull off and why they did it in the first place. To top it off, there’s Josh Pais playing a bank manager, Chuck Lofton, who is hysterically fed up with the people that are taking advantage of him.
    I really enjoyed Going In Style and give it 5 pies out of 5. I don’t know if twenty and thirty somethings are going to get it yet, but they will eventually if not right now

  • Going in Style is the cinematic equivalent of comfort food – a satisfying mix of drama, comedy, and a heist film, it also offers the opportunity to see old dogs like Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin doing what they do best.

    A remake of the 1979 film starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg, the story centers around a trio of pensioners who team up to rob their neighbourhood Williamsburg Savings Bank when Wechsler Steel Company, for whom they all worked together for decades, decides to dissolve its pension fund as a result of a corporate merger. Caine plays the ringleader Joe, who finds out that the bank is about to foreclose on his mortgage, which will leave him, his daughter and granddaughter homeless in a month’s time. Freeman is Willie, who has been hiding a serious kidney condition from his friends and family. His roommate Albert (Arkin) spends his days kvetching, teaching music, and fending off the advances of grocery store-worker Annie (Ann-Margret, whose magnificent sexiness remains firmly intact).

    Willie and Albert are dubious about Joe’s idea – Joe may insist that they have the skills and experience but, as Willie points out, they also have gout, arthritis and shingles. Yet Joe persists. Having experienced a bank robbery firsthand, Joe is convinced that they can pull it off. If they do, then it solves all their problems. If they don’t, “we get caught, we get a bed, three meals a day, and better health care than we get now.” Enlisting the help of Joe’s lowlife ex-son-in-law Murphy (Peter Serafinowicz and his acquaintance Jesus (John Ortiz), the trio train for the big heist.

    Going in Style is certainly a massive step-up for director Zach Braff, whose last film Wish I Was Here was a pointless mess. Going in Style bounces along, buoyed by the warmth and camaraderie between its three leads, and boasts a handful of visual flourishes such as the split-screen montage that shows their preparation and strategy sessions. The film also makes room for strong supporting turns by the likes of Christopher Lloyd and Kenan Thompson, though Matt Dillon is wasted as the FBI agent investigating the robbery. All in all, it’s a heartwarming crowd-pleaser that’s fairly difficult to resist.

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  • Actor Zach Braff (best known for his work in the excellent sitcom Scrubs) had a very promising debut as a director in 2004 with the film Garden State, an emotive and sincere “slice of life” which deservedly earned the attention of the followers of independent cinema. 10 years later, he made his second movie, Wish I Was Here, and even though it was interesting, it was very inferior to Garden State. And more recently, Going in Style unfortunately continues his downward spiral. On the other hand, it can be said that Going in Style discards Braff’s “indie” intentions, and places him in the category of an efficient director-for-hire, with little creative vision, but who knows where to point the camera, and how to extract even the last drop of humor from a mediocre screenplay lacking of ambition and ingenuity. Despite Braff’s apathetic direction, Going in Style counts with a cast headed by three veterans whose presence guarantees honest and enthusiastic performances, which are enough reason to bring this film a slight recommendation. There’s no need to explain why it’s a pleasure to see Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin together on the screen (or even separately), exploiting the incongruity of their actions, gently laughing at their age and forging honest emotional bonds with each other. In supporting roles, we find various solid actors such as Christopher Lloyd, Matt Dillon, Peter Serafinowicz, Ann-Margret and Kenan Thompson; they all take advantage of their brief screen-time in order to improve the experience and season its vapidity to a certain point. In fact, Going in Style doesn’t have any fatal fail… its problem is just a lack of dramatic ambition which makes it appeal to bland comic formulas, while refusing to explore any of the provocative tangents suggested by the story; for example, the economic abuse against senior citizens and the subtle discrimination against them in every aspect of society… in summary, all those things which would have brought deepness to the movie. To be fair, Going in Style is the remake of an homonym 1979 film I haven’t seen, so maybe, it fulfilled with its intention of updating the story, and period. Maybe, if I hadn’t known Going in Style was directed by Braff, my expectations wouldn’t have interfered with my perception so much (I would have probably assumed it was directed by Dennis Dugan, Shawn Levy or some similar mercenary). As I previously said, I can still give Going in Style a slight recommendation because it managed to keep me moderately entertained despite its mediocrity; however, I would have definitely preferred something much audacious or intelligent, which would have genuinely taken advantage of the talent of the actors. As for Braff… work is work; but it works better with ideas.

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