Greetings my intrepid movie-lovers!
In this short review I give you my take on the charming action film: Going in Style.
We open with Michael Caine’s character, Joe, in the bank. Joe is there to dispute the bank’s unfair mortgage-hike on his home. The banker, quite apathetically, warns him this was going to happen and that there is nothing he can do. The sordid moment is broken up, however, by three masked men. The men rob the bank, but in an unforeseen twist, a robber shows kindness to Joe and takes vengeance on the greedy banker. ‘It is a culture’s duty to take care of its elderly.’ says the masked man after sparing Joe.
Joe, changed by what he has seen, tells his friends Willie (played by Morgan Freeman) and Albert (played by Alan Arkin) the amazing story. The duo are not quite as excited by the recounting. They’re even less enthused when Joe proposes they too should rob the bank.
However, all three friends soon discover their company is cutting their pension. At Willie’s birthday party, after recently learning from his doctor that he needs a new kidney, Willie decides to join Joe in his plan seeing he has nothing to lose. Willie invites Al to join their plot. Al refuses, especially after the trio rob a supermarket and fail to get away.
Nonetheless, Al has a change of heart and joins the others in their scheme. Joe talks to his deadbeat ex-son-in-law into finding him a con-man (played by John Ortiz). The con man, named Jesus, tells them all they need to know and trains them for the heist. We got funny clips of the senile men attempting to shoot and trying to get themselves in heist-shape.
The three men organize their plot like a well-run ship. Joe, Having convinced everyone there at the t-shirt event the gang runs off to the bank wearing masks of the Rat-Pack. Holding up the bank, Joe and Willie empty the registers while Al keeps time. Willie, noticing a girl crying walks toward her and gently reassures her he means her no harm. Unfortunately, Willie begins to experience a seizing pain in his abdomen and sinks to his knees. The small girl begins to peel back his mask and notices Willie’s watch, which contains a picture of his granddaughter.
The trio get their things together and Willie regains composure. This gives the tellers time to ring the alarm. Having little time left, the trio take off and return to the carnival. Happy and relieved, the gang head to a fancy restaurant where Willie has ‘all the pie he wants.’ Despite this Willie ends up collapsing on their walk back. He is taken to the hospital and the police question our heroes one by one. All three men give convincing stories that back up their alibi. They thought of everything; Al even cut a hole in a port-a-potty which he uses to exit from the back to escape the carnival unseen and return to the port-a-potty later on to erase suspicion!
Not wasting much time the police make the heroes line up in a basketball gym. The straight-laced agent makes them form a line-up and brings in the little girl who cried at the heist. Bemusedly, she looks at each one and recognizes Willie’s lower-half of his face along with the watch. The little girl pauses for a minute (it was at this moment I clung to the edge of my seat!) and then slowly says ‘he’s not here.’
Breathing a sigh of relief our trio return to their lives as normal. Joe meets up with Jesus who tells him that he doesn’t want his twenty-five percent. Jesus smiles and responds: ‘It is a culture’s duty to take care of it’s elderly.’
Surprised, Joe is beside himself. Before he can accept a puppy (and the stolen money) from Jesus, the straight-laced agent enters the café to inspect the small pet carrier. Fortunately, the agent doesn’t find anything except a dog bite to the finger. Joe is satisfied and walks away with the money in tow, leaving stack of bills to Mitzi, the disgruntled waitress.
Thankfully, Al donates his kidney to Willie, which saves his life. We then cut to a scene where Joe and Willie raise a toast to him with somber praise. (My heart sank with fear and sadness) But this is just a tease; Al survived losing a kidney and is now married to Annie Santori. The trio laugh together on a bridge beneath the stars with the reception still taking place on the horizon.
I LOVE this movie. It is cute, sensible and funny. The dialogue and action scenes keep you engaged with witty banter, character development and a consistent plot line. I could find few plot holes due to the simplicity of the film. Caine, Freeman and Arkin all put in solid performances whereas they could have easily phoned it in due to lower budget. Thankfully, they did not. In addition to the top billed cast we have plenty of other colorful characters in the cast that shine in their own way; Ann-Margret, Matt Dillon, Kenan Thompson, John Ortiz and the young newcomer Joey King (as Joe’s granddaughter).
The most memorable scenes for me were the scene where the robber spares Joe with his iconic quote and the scene where Joe and Al confront Willie about his failing kidney. It really warmed my heart and made my eyes almost tear up (I’m a softie!) when Joe gently told him ‘we’re your friends…let’s take care of you.’ Also not to be forgotten was the scene where Joe instructs his deadbeat ex-son-in-law to take care of his granddaughter. He gives him an inspiring speech punctuating it with ‘fake it if you have to.’ Joe knows he has little time left and you can really feel the pain and fear in both the music and in Michael Caine’s face. Truly wonderful acting.
If you haven’t seen ‘Going in Style’ yet I highly recommend you check this one out. It’s a fast-paced, fun and wholesome comedy about people living life to the fullest even at the twilight of their years.
Going in Style earns a solid 4.5 out of 5 from this humble movie-goer.
P.S. I don’t condone robbing banks!
Thanks for reading!