Going in Style has three protagonists. Willie, (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Albert (Alan Arkin), though you could say Joe is the main one because it's the first of these three we see. He goes to the bank asking why the mortgage on his house tripled overnight. To do so, he goes to the bank and is asked to wait on a thirft-store chair that isn't built for elders like him for two seconds literally, before meeting someone and telling him he never lied about what he sold. He just overinflated it with terms he knew he could get away with using, like saying the idea of this happening was extraordinary. But apparently extraordinary means possible, and even quite possible. Then Joe witnesses a bank robbery, and as the banks try to hustle their way around a 2.7 million dollar loss by taking it out on the pension funds of all the factory workers (which include all three of them), Joe decides that he and their friends have nothing to lose. They're going to get their money back and perform a robbery of their own. The thing is, Willie needs an organ transplant, Joe has a queen-bee granddaughter who he's best friends with, and there's a chick who is flirting uninconspicuously with Albert. Will any of those things, or something entirely different, demolish them more than they are already, in terms of age and income downfall? Find out in this movie!
In order for Going in Style to be good, it had to know what it was. The premise alone makes it a mixture of comedy and heist. The comedy comes from its attempt to like the RED films, be different from the usual heist film, in that the people performing the heist need to take pills and can usually be expected to have candy money on them. And then there's the heist part: Banks are portrayed as the bad greedy guys in movies so often that the movies themselves can be proof enough that that's the valid truth of the real world outside movies. But as funny as the idea is for elders with no experience to rob a bank, I didn't just want it to be funny, I wanted it to be tense. A few years ago, I saw "30 Minutes or Less" and I loathed it. It was trying to mock bank robberies and blackmail so much, that the improbability of what was going on screen was overwhelming. And before the heist, which isn't a spoiler because you know they're somehow going to rob the bank, I was crossing my arms for the heist to be good because I was really enjoying myself during a movie year of not very good productions. And it delivered.
During the shutdown of the factory, the person on the podium says gibberish that several politicians will say to obfuscate facts. And Caine cries something like, "Look, Donald, can you speak this in English?" I laughed pretty hard and made me wonder when this movie was actually filmed.
Going in Style is one of those movies that's kind of lightweight compared to heist films like The Italian Job and even Ocean's 11, and I wouldn't expect this film to be contender for any awards. But the reason for my glowing grade in this film is its dareness to be both different and tricking. Going in Style has the feel of a predictable film, but just like its 3 senior rogues, the movie is only pretending to be predictable. There's more than one time where I expected the film to take a certain route, and the train was even moving in the direction as clearly as there are wrinkles behind their masks. But Going in Style actually avoids this. And you want to know one of the main reasons it was very tense? It wasn't just because they were playing Robin Hood against banks that defrauded them. It's true, that was one of the elements that got me interested in watching the movie when I saw the trailer. But that was expected. What I didn't expect was its side story on reaching old age. I have three grandparents, and over my eighteen years on Earth, I've watched them grow older and older. I've also met elders and made friends with them who've either passed away or are probably about to. This movie acknowledges that these three tremendous actors, as well as the rest of the crew, might be leaving us soon. Their real-life and fictional vulnerability is what really makes Going in Style a suspenseful film: because these are characters, and actors, who at this point feel like family when we turn on our televisions.
And also, Going in Style, could be a pretty good tool guide for years to come on how to rob a bank. And I hope no one charges me for saying that. One thing I can't be charged for is saying this and Kong: Skull Island were quite refreshing for me after some mostly mediocre movies.