Society has a way of dismissing older people, as if by virtue of aging you’re become some sort of tool with no opinions and and endless capacity to be shoved around. Financial limitations and health woes only add to the sense of powerlessness, but at some point, enough is enough. Joe (Michael Caine), WIllie (Morgan Freeman), and Al (Alan Arkin) reach this breaking point when their pensions are cut due to corporate restructuring. Joe is especially enraged since his home is already in foreclosure thanks to the shady practices at his bank. He is also inspired by a slick bank robbery he happened to witness. Pretty soon the threesome are masterminding a heist and are on their way to Going in Style.
While almost every likable movie about bank robberies has a satisfying element of sticking it to the man, Going in Style is more about friendship, loyalty, and fresh starts than it is about knocking over a bank. There’s a rare sweetness to the interaction between these three men that’s reminiscent of the bonds shared in childhood. They are all essentially neighbors, worked for the same company, frequent the same diner, and have a system of unspoken routines. The loss of their pensions not only threatens to disrupt their way of life, it is a grim reminder that their best days are long behind them.
Though Willie and Al raise various objections to Joe’s scheme, they realize that it offers a sense of possibility that has all but left their lives. Willie has severe kidney disease and lacks the funds to visit his beloved granddaughter, so he has little to lose and everything to gain from the robbery. Meanwhile, Al has basically been sitting around waiting to die. He’s still in good health, but he’s no longer open to new experiences and feels that everything is over. His outlook improves, however, when he finally accepts the advances of Annie (Ann-Margret), the hottie who works at his local grocery store.
The success of the bank robbery will certainly make a world of difference in the lives of Joe, Willie, and Al, but its impact is only partly financial. The process of doing something new and different, of communicating honestly with one another, and of standing up for themselves leaves the trio feeling rejuvenated. And while robbing a bank at any stage of life is never recommended, Going in Style is an entertaining and hopeful reminder that it’s never too late to break out of the mold and change the direction of your life.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack includes Director’s Commentary with Zach Braff and Deleted Scenes. The Standard Definition DVD only includes Director’s Commentary.