Going in Style – A Review

Watch this movie to see Sir Michael Caine and God (jk, Morgan Freeman, but same thing, really) get high. Ordinarily, that would be reason enough to watch any movie, not to mention seeing how octogenarians get high (I know some folks here would be planning their own futures in this scene). Or to see them flee a supermarket’s version of Paul Blart Mall Cop, with Caine on a mobility scooter and Freeman in the little kitty-basket (Again, future-planning for some). But Going in Style promises so much more than that. A main cast with an average age of 81, admittedly full of legends (Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Doc Brown from Back to the Future), has shown that they still have something to teach today’s actors and budding actors quite something about comic timing and chemistry. Needless to say, watching them get high, squirting flour on a chasing wannabe-Paul Blart’s face and Doc looking like the actual Milton certainly helps buoy the movie.

“We three old guys, we hit a bank. We get away with it, we retire in dignity. Worst comes to the worst, we get caught, we get a bed, three meals a day, and better health care than we got now.”

 

The most important issue in the movie that is directly applicable to reality is whether robbing a bank can possibly be justifiable. Quite a philosophical conundrum for anyone discussing morality, but if I discuss philosophy again, I’m sure my last two friends would abandon me and I’d ward off any prospective girlfriend. Of course, prospective is as hopeful for me as for those three old men hoping the bank would not fuck them over and pay back their pensions. Now, here we see these folks battling a construct that has been corrupted by a greed many institutions have been infected with, and since they shaped morality… Okay, I’m officially down to one friend and my Tinder profile is at an all-time low, so fuck philosophy for now. Going back to Going in Style (see what I did there 😉 ), the movie isn’t about one last hoorah or a “screw this” attitude; it is about three 80-year olds who have their backs to the wall and come out fighting, showing everyone, [sic] banks, that one does not mess with old people. Their pensions have been taken from them and bank foreclosures loom over their heads, putting in danger their welfare and/or their family’s. So when they finally decide to take some steps to remedy this, what do they do?

They go to Caine’s ex-son-in-law, because he’s a low-life, and look at the various species of marijuana he has on display. I swear, there is something quite appealing in the way Caine and Freeman look at those bottles and pronounce the names of those strains. If you have ever imagined Morgan Freeman, the Lord our God, himself, pronouncing “Bad Bitch” and “OG Kush” and his face lighting up as he reads them, you are in for a treat. Of course, I wouldn’t know what they feel or imply. Anyway, before that, they attempt to rob a mart (that’s where there is the infamous car/mobility scooter-chase that puts James Bond to shame) and anyone watching it would be hard-pressed to not smile watching them rob the supermarket. And it isn’t out of pity, but because it is genuinely hilarious. As Caine says, they have skills and experience, which is seen when they try to steal an entire pork loin and a packet of flour, which leaves him walking out of the mart with his suit bulging on both breasts and Freeman with a pork loin down his pants while Arkin distracts the famous Ann Margaret (Mad Men fans, the Bye-Bye Birdy actress) who flirts with him. Now, does it hurt to see octogenarians have a more vibrant love-life than me, no.

Okay, yes, but still the humor in the movie doesn’t wear off even after you acknowledge this (Yes, it does). The mobility-scooter then comes into play as Caine goes full GTA (Grandad the Thief with Arthritis) and Freeman makes chasing security look like a “Colombian drug-mule”.

“Never has anybody walked off with an entire pork loin. What would your mamma say?”

“Go big, or go home.”

These legends plan and then pull off a robbery that may well put Ocean’s 11, 22 and 54 to shame. With professional help, of course, they practice walking in and out of the bank and making a withdrawal in 5 minutes. Here, you finally realize the movie is fictitious because there ain’t no bank in Brooklyn that serves you in 5 minutes, hell even McDonald’s there takes longer. But I digress. To not ruin the plot too much, let me just say that the movie takes the credibility of the actors themselves to let them develop characters on their own. To their credit, not that it’s my position to attribute that credit, they do so wonderfully. The script is modelled incredibly and feeds off their stature as actors. All it takes is a fifteen-minute scene at the beginning which features Caine being screwed by the bank, them having lost their pensions, Morgan Freeman being quietly dejected and Alan Arkin needing but a few dialogues to establish himself as a “fuck this, fuck you” and your classic exasperated octogenarian. There is further evidence of the excellence of the script in Peter Serafinowicz’s cameo where it takes just two minutes to highlight their situations.

“Get in the basket.”

“What do I look like? E.T.?!”

All in all, the movie may not be an earth-moving blockbuster or something that is so exuberant that it is responsible for global warming on its own (Michael Bay, I’m looking at you). Nonetheless, Going in Style is an absolute delight to watch because it harkens back to the essentials of an entertaining comedy-drama that these very actors worked for decades to establish. You have the classic love component, some sex (important note: not shown, thank god) to make it sufficiently modern-Hollywood, the troubles and drama that push them to do the job are clearly highlighted, and the comedy is the seasoning that really makes the chemistry so wonderful and the movie worth watching. The characters feel genuine, the story feels genuine, and the movie does considerably more than enough to convince you that such a scenario is extremely doable. Of course, it raises concerns that would our grandparents now be plotting to rob banks, but don’t worry about that. I wouldn’t, anyway; I’m Indian, we don’t do that sort of thing. For starters, we would have difficulty getting through customs at the New York airport (making a conscious effort to stay away from race jokes: Check). I have raved on about characters and the comedy but it is also important to note that the director has done a fantastic job of making it seem like an actual heist flick. You have the classic thrilling music when they’re planning it and the scene of the actual robbery is as high-paced as their arthritis would allow. Going in Style is highly entertaining and a real pleasure to watch, a genuine pleasure that is worth the ninety minutes spent on it. If nothing else, you get to see Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine get high. Admit it, beyond The Revenant and every new Marvel movie, this is what we’ve been waiting for.

“We ate like kings!”

“We were kings!”

“We still are.”

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