Ocean’s Eleven: The Retirement edition
Alan Arkin, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman are three of the finest actors of our era. Each of them individually have accomplished more in their lifetime than groups of actors have ever hoped to accomplish. You would think that combining them together into one movie would be some sort of Oscar caliber Best Picture candidate or something. Then there is the fact that this is a bank heist movie which always adds a lot of fun to the picture as well as some very high stakes. I mean a bank robbery movie with three legends must be worth a watch, right? Well, yes.
Bank heist movies are standard fare in Hollywood typically but apparently, this original sounding idea is a remake of 1979 movie by the same name. We are introduced to three elderly men who are very close friends. Their names are Joe, Willie, and Al. Not only do these friends live in the same neighborhood but each of them derives a pension from the same company. Due to some company restructuring of some sort their pensions have been frozen and taken over by their bank. This obviously presents a difficult situation for them since they’re elderly and don’t have much of an income aside from their Social Security. Joe played by Michael Caine stands to lose his home. Willie played by Morgan Freeman has kidney failure without much hope of transplant due to his financial situation. Inspired by a recent bank robber and down on their luck with seemingly nothing to lose, they decide to rob their bank. Given their geriatric disposition, the odds of them pulling this heist off are in overwhelming favor of failure. They enlist the help of a professional who helps to coach them into “shape” so that they can have a chance to succeed. These men have only a few weeks to accomplish their mission before either Joe loses his home or Willie dies from kidney failure. Will they be able to rise to the occasion so that they can have some dignity in their final days?
Being that this movie seems to be appealing to an elder demographic, I wasn’t too sure how enjoyable this film would be. However, it has actors which I highly respect so it had to be tolerable. This was a very pleasant and enjoyable film however. Do we really need to say anything about the performance of the three headliners? Despite playing comedic roles, all three are superb in what they bring to the table. Just watching these three men work their craft makes this movie something that should be checked out. Christopher Lloyd also shows up in a very humorous supporting performance. At 1 hour and 36 minutes, this movie doesn’t waste your time as it cuts to the chase quickly. We have geriatric humor in here but that’s fine since it made me laugh. The movie flows smoothly for the first two acts. In the third act, when the robbery is going down it starts to suffer from its short run time as the heist seems to lack the details you would think would be important.
I enjoy bank heist movies, so the rushing of the actual heist was a little disappointing. Everything else was great. I really appreciated the training montage. There is a sense of urgency here naturally but especially so given the age of our protagonists. It is easy to root for these three guys obviously. They are so likeable. That’s the point of the movie. The actual heist takes a backseat to this showcase for these three very fine actors in a not so serious movie. This movie also resonated with me emotionally as it touches on the very difficult subject of kidney failure, dialysis and the difficulty of not wanting to burden friends and family to ask for organ donation when your life is at stake. So, it was easy to like this movie and most everyone who watches it will. If you enjoy light hearted comedy with heart, then this is one to see.