Of the three leads, Freeman gives it his all, Arkin, a brilliant serious actor who also has terrific comic timing (as evidenced in Little Miss Sunshine and Argo) feels faintly under-used as Al, a talented sax player whose zest for life has receded, though he does strike up a sizzling affair with an attractive older woman - played by 1960s star Ann-Margret, no less. If Morgan and Alan were in it, well...we couldn't all be wrong.
There is light amusement here, and these actors are even skilled enough to make mature audiences say "You got that right!" on some of the very serious themes here. Also, the slimy bank manager informs him, the direct-deposit checks from the aforementioned company have ceased, which is a huge problem for Joe, who lets his daughter and 14-year-old granddaughter he adores live in his house. So, when the bank decides to foreclose his mortgage, Joe decides to rob it. You can't miss when you've got actors like these saying goodbye to their pals by saying "I'm going home to sort out my pills".
One of the funniest parts of the 1979 film was seeing Burns - the legendary comedian who was in his early 80s at the time - verbally jousting with the FBI agents investigating the bank robbery at the center of the movie. She is as game as any person I have ever known.
"He's like, 'I'm watching you two, I see what's happening, ' and I'm like, 'This is really not going well!'" Braff continued. It takes a while to talk Willie and Al into it, but we know he will; if he didn't, there wouldn't be a movie. "Alright, I failed!" Freeman said.
It so happens that on that fruitless visit to his oily banker, Joe had one of those life-changing experiences that you don't recognize until after the fact-the bank was robbed by a trio of masked gunmen.
The filmmakers opt for a far more fanciful approach and a fantasy finish, meaning you can see the bones of the original picture, but the body is not the same one you remember. And he was great. There's an Arkin/Ann-Margret duet on "Hallelujah I Love Her So" that gets lost in a chaotically edited action sequence, for example.
MICHAEL CAINE: I thought, "Look what Zach has done with it!"
Their ages are important, as these legends play three longtime friends and former steel company workers in NY living on their pension checks and what Social Security provides.
ALAN ARKIN: We finally got a decent piece of pizza! The whole flavor of the film depends on who are the guys who are learning the ins and the outs of bank robbery. When Joe and Willie (Freeman) are doing a shoplifting training run at a local supermarket, you'd think the joke might be nobody notices they're shoving entire hams and bags of flour into their trousers, because old people are invisible. Anybody can enjoy Going in Style.