Joe (Michael Caine) is visiting his bank to discuss the latest piece of bad news they’ve mailed him regarding his mortgage payments. He doesn’t have time for the cheery desk clerk, or their ridiculous system for dealing with visitors. He certainly doesn’t have time for the smug idiot responsible for originally signing him up to the wildly variable mortgage on the promise that his payments ‘shouldn’t’ rise too much. So, just as his tolerance is being pushed to the limit, in storms a trio of crooks, perfectly executing their well planned crime and walking off with a shed load of cash.
Back with his buddies (Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin), Joe is dealt another blow when all three discover that their pensions are no more and they are effectively broke. And when they discover that Williamsburg Savings Bank, the same bank sending Joe the mortgage letters, had a part to play in it, Joe formulates a plan. A heist to take back what’s owed to them, nothing more and nothing less.
If you’ve seen the trailer, then you’ve pretty much seen all of this so far, along with most of what’s still to come. In-between everything, Going in Style manages to provide a pretty good balance between gentle feel-good humour while highlighting the struggles associated with old age or general injustice. We spend time with each of our leads as they go about their normal lives – Willie (Freeman) and Al (Arkin) share a small apartment while Joe supports his daughter and granddaughter. When they do finally get down to planning their heist it’s handled by a split-screen montage of training, thereby neatly glossing over some of the plausibility of it all, and before we know it the big day is upon us. There’s obviously a bit of a slip up during the heist and there follows a lengthy period of will they or won’t they get away with it. But the real enjoyment comes from seeing the three old-timers perfectly play out their planned alibis in the run up to the heist as they try to outsmart the detective (Matt Dillon) investigating the robbery.
It all works, just about, but this is mostly down to our three reliable leads and I’m sure we would have had a very different outcome if it wasn’t for them. Going in Style therefore manages to be not much more than a mildly entertaining, play-it-safe movie which is soon forgotten.