Genre: Comedy, Crime, Heist.
Starring: Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, Joey King, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margret, Christopher Lloyd, Kenan Thompson, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, John Ortiz, Peter Serafinowicz.
Year Of Release: 2017
Certificate: 12A (UK)/PG-13 (US)
Runtime: 96 Minutes
Director: Zack Braff
Writer(s): Theodore Melfi
Synopsis: “Desperate to pay the bills and come through for their loved ones, three lifelong pals risk it all by embarking on a daring bid to knock off the very bank that absconded with their money.” IMDB
This will be sold on the basis of it’s three leading men. Established, naturally funny, talented, respected and award winning actors who have many iconic films and roles under their belts. Sir Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin. I knew nothing about it except seeing a trailer, and was sold on the collaboration fronting the piece.
It’s a light-hearted heist film, so you know what you’re going to get. It’s ‘Oceans’s Eleven’ meets ‘Grumpy Old Men’, and to me that’s a winning blend of genres. I found the film very easy to watch, easy to invest in and easy to enjoy. It’s not over-long or full of complex characters, plot-twists or CGI.
It’s wonderful film that can’t offend if it tried (if you don’t mind some swearing from the older characters, which adds to the humour!) that may cater to the older generation due to the leading stars, but also should be seen by younger film fans to witness three stellar actors having fun in their later years. When they can rob a bank dressed as The Rat-Pack, who says being old is boring? Not these guys.
Director Zach Braff knows how to play for laughs without being silly; the humour here is gentle and comes at the expense of our three leads being bitter, fed-up and generally reluctant to be stiffed over after 30 years of hard-work comes crashing down when their pension plans are liquidated. We can easily relate to all the leads – from worrying about providing for family, to maintaining good health or finding love – and so with such likeable characters, we are right behind them from the start. And it’s hard NOT to like anything our three actors do.
With a strong supporting cast who pop up now and then for some humour and plot devices, we have the charming Ann-Margret as Al’s love interest Annie, Matt Dillon as the straight-faced FBI agent on their case, Peter Serafinowicz as Joe’s son-in-law and a surprise turn by Christopher Lloyd as Milton, a friend of them who is a very quirky and amusing character.
New York sets a stunning back-drop and looks beautiful on screen, with lots of locations on offer to keep things interesting. And as mentioned before, the pacing never drops or gets boring as the stoy is only 90mins. While the ending feels a little bloated in the sense of it could have ended two scenes ago, it never-the-less gives you the pay-off you want and with a few twists along the way and a brilliant play-out of how the heist went down (something we all like to see after it’s happened so we know HOW they did it), it’s standard stuff but from a genre not over-done in cinema now.
And while our three leads don’t get stupid or silly with their characters, the humour from just watching them get annoyed at the outcome of ‘The Bachelor’ they watch regularly, choosing what pie to eat at their favourite diner, or robbing a grocery store in a test run for a bank-job leading to Michael Caine feeling in a mobility scooter with Morgan Freeman sat in the basket….you know this is something you just need to watch and have fun with in a world currently far too serious for it’s own good.