Susan Granger’s review of “Going in Style” (Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Roadshow Pictures)
Bill Gates once said, “Banking is necessary, banks are not.” Which may be why bankers and banks have become popular cinematic villains.
Like the hapless brothers in last year’s “Hell or High Water,” three Brooklyn-based seniors suddenly realize that – because of a nefarious local bank – they’re going to be broke and homeless.
Joe (Michael Caine) comes up with the idea of an armed robbery after conferring with a sleazy Williamsburg Savings Bank manager (Josh Pais) about his adjustable mortgage that has suddenly tripled, threatening him, his divorced daughter and beloved granddaughter with foreclosure and eviction.
Joined by longtime friends Willie (Morgan Freeman) and Al (Alan Arkin), Joe then discovers that the Wechsler Steel Company, where they’ve all worked for years, has outsourced to Vietnam and their pensions will be confiscated by the same Williamsburg Savings Bank.
Retribution seems to be the only answer. What have they got to lose? Suffering from renal failure, Willie needs a kidney transplant, and cantankerous Al, a jazz saxophonist, is fed up with teaching music to talentless kids – like the son of a saucy grocery store clerk (Ann-Margret).
Viewing “Dog Day Afternoon” as a cautionary tale, the retirees decide to seek advice from a professional thief (John Ortiz). After several ‘trial runs,’ they work out a watertight alibi and disguise themselves in rubber masks depicting the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.), unaware that they’ve aroused the suspicions of an FBI agent (Matt Dillon).
Adapted by Theodore Melfi (“Hidden Figures,” “St. Vincent”) and directed by actor Zach Braff (“Garden State”), this crime caper is actually a remake of Martin Brest’s 1979 movie, starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg.
FYI: Ironically, President Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was as an Executive Producer of this gibe at corporate greed.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Going in Style” is a salty 6, a mildly amusing, slapstick comedy that’s filled with scrappy banter.