GOING IN STYLE (2017) SCORE: B
Length: 96 Minutes
“THE SWEETEST ‘GIFT OF LIFE’ IS A WONDERFUL MOVIE WITH HEART”
When you look back at the original GOING IN STYLE (1979), you really can’t help but have a sentimental sense of nostalgia. Those were the good old days, when George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg decided to rob a bank. At the time, each actor was in a class all by themselves. To our movie goers today who have never seen such classic films as THE SUNSHINE BOYS (1975); HARRY AND TONTO (1974); and THE GODFATHER PART II (1974), you really are missing extraordinary performances. Strasberg today, is considered one of the finest acting teachers of all time.
Flash forward to 2017. Today, we have Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. They also deciding to rob a bank, in what is a new GOING IN STYLE. I might add, very loosely based on the ’79 film. They are only robbing the bank foreclosing on their friend’s house. Their pension fund is being dissolved. They are only taking what they are entitled to. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Freeman (turning 80 this summer), Caine (84 — how is that possible Alfie?) and Arkin (83) are also great actors who remain in a class all by themselves. It is their chemistry together — under the direction of Zach Braff (who by the way was born in 1975) that results in an above average sentimental comedy. In fact I would use the word “sweet and full of heart” to sum up the impact of this wonderful small film. It is obvious all three are truly enjoying working together on this project.
And speaking of nostalgia — the screen lights up as veteran actors are introduced as the story unfolds. What can I say about Ann-Margret. She turns 76 at the end of this month and she is still as beautiful as ever. She truly is, “Miss Viva Las Vegas” and somehow has appeared in over 50 films.
Then there is Christopher Lloyd, having a ball channeling “Doc Brown” from the BACK TO THE FUTURE TRILOGY. At 79 years of age, he certainly steals every scene that he is in. You can’t help but break into a great big smile when he is on the screen.
It was also nice to see Matt Dillon. We forget that many years ago, Chicago film critic Roger Ebert proclaimed that “Matt Dillon together with Sean Penn, are the two best actors in their age group.”
Credit also goes to other cast members including Joey King (who is marvelous), Kenan Thompson, John Ortiz and Peter Serafinowicz. They are supported by a very large cast.
The screenplay is written by Theodore Melfi, from a 1979 story by Edward Cannon.
This review would be incomplete if I did not praise the work of Rob Simonsen. His score is one of the reasons why this film is so touching. Two years ago, he composed the score for BURNT — one of my favorite movies of 2015 starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Thompson. He also contributed additional music to composer Mychael Danna for THE LIFE OF PI (2012), which won an Oscar for Best Score.
Immediately prior to the start of the movie, Freeman, Caine and Arkin make a brief appeal to learn about and support the work of the National Kidney Foundation. And, give “The Gift of Life”. To find out the reason why the appeal, be sure to see GOING IN STYLE. I don’t think you are going to be disappointed.