Film critic Dominic Corry celebrates, clarifies and justifies his love for all things movie.

Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine team up for Going in Style

Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine star in Going in Style.
Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine star in Going in Style.

Three of the most beloved actors in the business, Oscar-winners all, are teaming up to rob a bank. That's the set-up of Going In Style, the new comedy caper loosely inspired by a 1979 film of the same name.

Sir Michael Caine (Jaws: The Revenge), Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) and Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) play three friends whose pensions are lost when their former employer is sold overseas. Mad as hell and not willing to take it anymore, the three decide to get their money back the old fashioned way - with guns, masks and swagger.

Going In Style delights in the scruffy, easy rapport between the three old pros, and that comfort with each other is also highly evident when they front up together in a New York hotel to discuss the film with TimeOut. So how did they go about establishing that kind of chemistry?

"We bought a chemistry set," jokes Arkin in his unmistakable deadpan delivery.

Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin star in Going in Style.
Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin star in Going in Style.

"You're an actor," says Caine. "And if you get a part to play a murderer, you don't go out and murder someone, you just play with what you think is how a murderer feels. So even if we didn't get on, we'd have all played it as if we were best friends and then hated each other on the way home. "

Alongside the three legends is the film's director, Zach Braff. Although it's his third movie behind the camera, after Garden State (2004) and Wish I Was Here (2014), Braff is still best known for playing the lead role on the long-running sitcom Scrubs.

So although he is accomplished in his own right, it's not hard to imagine Braff being somewhat intimidated by the idea of corralling three actors who've each been working longer than he's been alive.

"I was very nervous at first," Braff tells TimeOut. "But as you see they're a very funny group and very welcoming and we just started laughing and getting along right away and my nerves went away. They couldn't have been nicer to me ... "

"That wasn't the plan," interjects Freeman in his infamously God-like intonation.

"Morgan liked to play jokes on me," explains Braff. "He'd come in and I'd have an elaborate set up for him and he'd go 'My character would never do that.' And he'd hold it."

Braff says that although the film is designed to be fun, there is an underlying point to it - as one character articulates out during the film: It's society's duty to look after its elderly.

"I think included in Ted Melfi's wonderful script was some social commentary on how the elderly in this country are treated," says Braff. "And Michael's character has a line where he says 'Worst-case scenario, I'll have a bed, three meals a day and better healthcare than I have now if I'm in jail.'"

Although there's a message here, Arkin resists the concept of that being integral to the experience of the film:

"I get slightly crazed when people want to hear what the message is," he says. "I don't know what the message of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is, but when I listen to it, it changes my life. If I come out of a movie theatre thinking about what the message of the film is, I've missed the emotional point of the movie."

Although it's substantially brighter than the film that inspired it, there's a wistful tone to Going In Style that Caine evokes when discussing how acting has impacted on him.

A scene from Going in Style.
A scene from Going in Style.

"For me, my life because of acting, has been paradise," says the double Oscar-winner. "It is exactly what I wanted to do. I didn't become an actor to become a film star or make money or be rich or famous because I knew I couldn't be that, because I was from a working-class background in the 50s in English theatre. So I was only ever going to play small parts - the butler or the policeman who comes in near the end and takes the criminal away. But I was very very happy to do that.

"In my youth club there was an amateur dramatic society and I was on my way up the stairs to basketball and there was a window in the door to the amateur dramatic society and I was leaning on the door because it was full of pretty girls, and I was 14. And I fell in the door and the man said, 'Come in' and I didn't have the heart to say I was going to basketball. So that's how I became an actor. I was 14, I was trying to get laid."

LOWDOWN:
Who: Sir Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin
What: Zac Braff's new film Going In Style
When: In cinemas today

- NZ Herald

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