Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of Going in Style

Going in Style
**

New on video, Going in Style is a disappointing waste of talent that also has some content issues.
This film is a remake of a 1979 film that was directed by Martin Brest and starred George Burns, Art Carney, and Lee Strasberg. That film was about three elderly friends who decided to rob a bank because they were bored. The new film is directed by three-time Golden Globe nominee (Scrubs) Zach Braff and the screenplay is written by Theodore Melfi (Hidden Figures), based on the original story written by Edward Cannon.
The film stars two-time Oscar winner (Hannah and Her Sisters, The Cider House Rules), Michael Caine, (who most recently starred as an uncredited air radio communicator in Dunkirk) as Joe, Oscar winner (Little Miss Sunshine) Alan Arkin as Al, and Oscar winner (Million Dollar Baby) Morgan Freeman as Willie. Joe has taken his daughter and granddaughter into his home. Al and Willie live across the street. Willie will soon need a kidney transplant and Al supplements his income by giving music lessons.
The three friends worked at Wechsler Steel Company, and are barely making ends meet with their social security and pension checks. They enjoy spending time together, watching television and spending time with friends at the Hudson Lodge. The friends also spend a lot of time in a diner (the same diner featured in the film Goodfellas), and have a good relationship with a favorite waitress Mitzi (Siobhan Fallon Hogan).
The film opens with Joe pleading for mercy with an unrelenting bank employee who tricked him into a bad mortgage and is threatening to foreclose on his home. While they are talking, masked gunmen rob the bank. When Joe gets home, he gets his foreclosure notice. He will be evicted from his home in 30 days.
On top of that, the three friends are told in a meeting that Wechsler Steel Company is closing down their U.S. operations, and will no longer honor their employee’s pensions. The same bank that is threatening to foreclose on Joe is involved with the pensions.
Joe, desperate to keep his home, floats the idea of the three friends robbing the bank. Initially, they are resistant, but they warm up to the idea. They agree that they will only steal an amount equal to the pensions that are being taken from them. They reach out to Jesus (John Ortiz) to teach them how to rob a bank.  A particularly funny scene takes place in a grocery store, and features a store manager played by Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson in a small but effective role.
Two-time Oscar nominee Ann Margret stars as Annie, a grocery store employee. She openly flirts with Al, who though finding Annie attractive, says he has no interest in a relationship.  Oscar nominee Matt Dillon portrays FBI Agent Hamer.
Unfortunately, the film contains some content issues with adult language, including the abuse of God’s and Jesus’ names. It also features some sexual content, though nothing explicit is shown.  On the plus side, positive themes in the film include the importance of friends and family.
Overall, however, a talented cast is wasted in this film which, while having some positive aspects, isn’t all that funny, is extremely predictable and has some content concerns.  Don’t even waste your money renting it.