There’s a fourth old codger in the new “Going in Style” remake, but you never actually see him on screen.
The remake of the 1979 dramedy stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin as three seniors plotting to rob a bank.
The system is rigged. Those evil bankers are out to destroy the middle class. Capitalism sucks. Now, what 70-something politician does that sound like?
The original “Going in Style” had guts. The film’s three seniors (Lee Strasberg, George Burns and Art Carney) decide to rob a bank to add zest to their lives. Their pensions weren’t robbed, nor were they angry at their former employers.
They grew sick of their drab existence. That’s it. And happy endings proved in short supply.
It’s far edgier than the new movie, which jettisons that bittersweet tone for a cheerier set of situations.
Suffice to say the original is superior. it’s equally clear the filmmakers hoped to tap into Bernie Sanders’ “screw the system” rhetoric. Ironically, Sanders got burned by his own system during the Democratic primaries.
You could argue the remake taps into a Trumpian tone, too. After all, candidate Donald Trump’s campaign message echoed the Sanders’ shtick in eerie ways. The system is corrupt, and you need an outsider to make it right.
It’s the film’s smaller tells that reveal the true “Bern.”
Mild Spoilers Ahead:
A key line late in the movie says it all.
“Everyone deserves a piece of the pie,” we’re told. That’s not what made America great. It is, though, a critical element of the Sanders fiscal blueprint. And our geriatric heroes spread as much of their wealth as possible during the third act.
FAST FACT: Lee Strasberg’s legacy extends beyond his stage and screen work. He helped teach acting to some of the biggest names in the industry, including James Dean, Jane Fonda and Joanne Woodward as part of the Actors Studio.
Even the film’s opening sequence has an Occupy Wall Street flair. Caine’s character gets inspired to break the law while being held captive by a masked group of bank robbers.
One robber singles Caine out, saying he doesn’t want to take any money from him personally. It’s the system he’s sticking up.
And, in the film’s morally warped reality, that robber isn’t a villain. How things have changed since 1979.