Geezers Strike Back in Zach Braff’s Rollicking Caper ‘Going in Style’
Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin have a couple things in common: they are all Academy Award winners, they are all household names in Hollywood circles, and they are all octogenarians. (Freeman, the youngest, turns 80 in June.) And in an inspired burst of casting genius, they are finally all starring in a film together: “Going in Style,” a remake of the (much darker) 1979 crime caper of the same name, follows three lifelong friends as they plan a heist to reclaim their hard-earned money and give the big, bad banking corporations a taste of their own medicine.
Directed by Zach Braff from a script by Theodore Melfi (writer and director of “Hidden Figures”), “Going in Style” capitalizes on the pervasive mistrust of and outright distaste for banks. The notion was fleshed out to dramatic effect in the Oscar-nominated “Hell or High Water,” but “Going in Style” takes a decidedly more comedic turn, one that is no doubt predicated on the ages of the three protagonists. Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine) and Albert (Arkin) have been friends for decades, watching “The Bachelor” together, dining together and working for the same steel company. When the company announces it is freezing all pension payments, the pals find themselves in a financial rut. Fortunately, Joe comes up with a solution: they’re going to rob a bank. “These banks practically destroyed our country,” Joe rationalizes. “And nothing happened to them!”
Freeman, Caine and Arkin, veterans of an assortment of film genres, certainly know how to bring the laughs. Arkin’s native Brooklyn accent is exaggerated for greater comedic effect, Caine’s distinctive Cockney accent contributes to the working class atmosphere, and Freeman’s signature wit is on full display. They are joined by a menagerie of familiar faces, all of whom revel in the funny business: Matt Dillon plays FBI agent Hamer, hot on the trail of the three amigos; Anne-Margaret is Annie, a grandmother trying to seduce Albert; Christopher Lloyd of “Back to the Future” fame plays the friends’ lodge buddy Milton; and Joey King plays Brooklyn, Joe’s precocious granddaughter.
Though films like 2011’s “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” have done well at the box office, Hollywood still shies away from stories that center around older characters. “It’s another prejudice,” Arkin told Variety. “We’re just people like anybody else. When we’re together, we don’t talk about how old we are. We talk about the things anybody on the planet talks about.”
“Going in Style” is released in theaters nationwide on April 7.