When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And humour makes the ride easier and enjoyable. Zach Braff's Going in style may be pitched in the comedy-crime genre, but the 'style' in the title refers to respect and dignity. A twice-repeated dialogue in the film—“It's the duty of every culture to take care of its elderly”—sums up its intention.
Three Best Friends Forever, Willie (Morgan Freeman), Joe (Michael Caine) and Albert (Alan Arkin), are on the last leg of their lives—and they want to sign off with a flourish. The Brooklyn-based trio has spent a lifetime working in a factory that, in its new avatar (read, merger), is using the employees' pension fund to pay off utility bills. Without the fair, secure income, Willie will lose his home (where his daughter and granddaughter have moved in with him) because he would be unable to pay the mortgage and Joe won't be able to take care of his rapidly deteriorating health or visit his family living in another state.
Incensed by the turn of events that will change the remainder of their lives, and being caught in a bank heist carried out by a set of young robbers, Willie manages to convince the other two to rob their bank and take only their rightful share. They reason that even if they get caught, life in prison would be more comfortable than the current lives they lead. A poignant statement on the state of affairs as a result of a 'corporate casualty' of those trying to eke out an honest daily living.
Thus, in a comical segment, the three carry out a trial run by robbing a local grocery store, and get caught. But the final plan is, of course, executed with a fair amount of panache. A modern-day Robin Hood effect is all too clear here, with everyone getting a fair share of the pie, literally and figuratively (the trio's other old friends get anonymous large pies along with a case full of money, post the success). Wonder what economist Thomas Piketty would have to say.
At a run-time of 96 minutes, the film, which is a remake of Martin Brest's 1979 flick of the same name, makes for an entertaining, one-time watch, given the casting of veteran actors who make up for a script that could have pushed the envelope. Arkin plays the wry, saxophone player who is the only one managing to get a good night's sleep because 'he's getting laid'. The emotive elements emanate from the deep, familial friendship they share and the humour springs forth from taking digs at each other about old age and dying.
Film: Going in style
Director: Zach Braff
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Alan Arkin