MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Going In Style’

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTOR: Zach Braff
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rodney Charters
WRITER: Theodore Melfi
MUSIC: Rob Simonsen

“Going in Style” is a feel-good comedy that is not hard to predict. It features light comedy with a not-so-subtle political message. Banks are bad, jobs being outsourced is bad, and by George, they should get their comeuppance! Still, this is a lighthearted genre film that has three charming Academy award winning legends in it and I had a wonderful time.

The movie tells the story of Joe (Michael Caine), Willie (Morgan Freeman), and Al (Alan Arkin) as they decide to rob a bank. They also pick their own bank for personal reasons. Joe has the biggest motive due to the bank’s impending foreclosure on his house and all three of them are upset when the factory they worked for takes their pension fund away in order to cover the factory’s debts with the same bank.

Now, before I go on, I should mention that I get that banks are greedy corporations. The mortgage foreclosure and the withdrawal of their pension fund is enough for me to want to see victory for these guys. There is one problem and that is in the form of a bank employee who is evil on a Saturday morning cartoon level. I guess they wanted to put a face on the “antagonist” of the movie, but he’s only in a couple of scenes and more of a distraction than anything else.

Also, this movie doesn’t set out to rewrite the formula of light entertainment. It is a predictable affair that is manufactured to make you feel good by the end of it. There’s even an FBI agent (Matt Dillon) that you just know will always be one step behind these would-be criminals.

Ultimately, none of that mattered for me though. I didn’t care about how predictable this movie was going to be because all three of the leads are just so damn charming the chemistry between these three friends was real. I wanted to see them win, the movie tugged at my sentimental heartstrings when necessary, and I left the cinema in a good mood.

The movie is also well crafted by director Zach Braff. He put together a heist film where I actually wanted to see just how the protagonists would pull it off. Braff also assembled not just the three fantastic leads, but the supporting characters also knocked it out of the park.

Ann-Margret is charming as Al’s love interest throughout the film. Watching Caine with Joey King as his granddaughter was a delight. Also, Christopher Lloyd pops up a few times as the three friends’ often aloof lodge buddy Milton and steals the scene.

No, the movie doesn’t break any new ground for the comedy/heist genre, but does it really have to so that to be good? There are not many films out there anymore that just want to make you leave the cinema feeling better than when you went in. That’s why I think I ultimately enjoyed this movie as it simply provided me with a fun time at the multiplex.

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