Going in Style
Amiable if somewhat safe remake, starring Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine
If we wait long enough, Hollywood is certain to remake everything. Going in Style is a slick, amiable cover version of an unjustly neglected 1979 comedy that starred George Burns, Lee Strasberg and Art Carney. There is class in the new casting of Oscar-winners Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as poverty-stricken old-timers who decide to take their revenge on a banking system that protects the corrupt, rewards failure and punishes hard-working, blue collar innocents.
In different hands, this could be Hollywood's comic take on I, Daniel Blake but with director Zach Braff's fondness for glossy visuals and obvious laughs it feels closer to a genial American variation on Last of the Summer Wine. Willie (Freeman), Joe (Caine) and Albert (Arkin) worked in the same steel factory and have remained friends as they enter their twilight years. When a foreign takeover swallows up their pension fund, the trio are facing hard times and tough choices. Joe just happens to be a witness to a successful robbery at his local bank and starts to think this could be the answer to all their grievances. The stage is set for the planning and execution of the perfect crime.
Everyone in Going in Style is comfortably cast to type, with Freeman displaying a serene benevolence, Caine swooping from avuncular to vicious at the top of his voice, and Arkin savouring some of the film's best lines as the group grump. There is nothing surprising or demanding here but there is pleasure in seeing a game Ann-Margret back on screen as Arkin's love interest Annie and the decidedly eclectic support also includes Matt Dillon, John Ortiz and Christopher Lloyd. It might even encourage you to track down and watch the 1970s original.
General release from Fri 7 Apr.