Monday 24 April 2017

Film Review: Going in Style

Perfectly passable in every perceivable way, Going in Style unites a trio of cinema legends for an agreeable heist romp.

A remake of the 1979 film of the same name, Going in Style is directed by Zach Braff and stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as three lifelong friends who find themselves at a loss when their pension funds are suddenly dissolved. Eager to get their own back on the bank that absconded with their money, the three OAPs enact a plan to stage an audacious heist to reclaim their money and provide for their respective families.

Going in Style is so remarkably inoffensive that the whole affair is rendered totally unremarkable. It’s like a ham sandwich on plain white bread or a vanilla ice cream sans the flake; modest, broad and easy on the palette. If this movie were a person, it would be Colin Hanks. It’s middle-of-the-road and perfectly passable, but ultimately forgettable. 

That’s not to say it’s not worth your time; it’s worth a watch just to see these three legends of the screen have a lark while they’re still with us. I’m just saying it’s not the kind of film that is going to subvert or challenge your expectations in any way shape or form. It’s the kind of film you can reasonably expect your grandma to enjoy during a mildly uneventful Saturday matinee session.

Theodore Melfi’s screenplay colours firmly within the lines, not once straying outside the mildly amusing but predictable confines of the formulaic narrative; to say it was probably sketched in crayon would be a harsh but not entirely inaccurate assumption given how broad and simplistic it is. As far as the themes and messaging are concerned, Going in Style is fairly one-note and hinges almost entirely on the insatiable charisma and rapport of its ‘amazingly razor-sharp for their age’ lead actors.

But what charisma it is. Caine, Freeman and Arkin are having bundles of fun planning heists, sassing one another and sleeping around in this brisk 96-minute film. 

One standout sequence sees the trio put their heist skills into practice by experimenting with how many chicken cordon bleu ingredients they can stuff into their suspenders at the local supermarket. If that kind of harmless humour seems like your speed, Going in Style delivers in spades.

At the end of the day, Going in Style has two unquenchably great qualities; it offers spirited heart and soul. The pacing travels at a fair clip and the central themes of friendship through hardship, family and teamwork are hard to begrudge. Surrounded by an eager crowd that spans all ages, it’s an enjoyable time at the movies that won’t threaten to offend or unsettle in the slightest.

The Verdict: 6/10

Perfect fodder for a lengthy plane ride or sleepy Sunday arvo with Netflix, Going in Style sticks in the script and doesn't go beyond expectations. Wouldn't recommend forking out for the theatre, but it's worth a watch at some point.

Going in Style is in cinemas across Australia now.

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