Movie Reviews: Going In Style and Neruda

Going In Style

Cary, NC – Directed by Zach Braff (Yes, THAT Zach Braff), Going In Style is a remake of the 1979 movie of the same name, this time starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin as three lifelong pals who attempt to rob the very bank that took their life savings. Breezy, charming and carried by its three leads, Going In Style is a small and enjoyable crime caper that had me smiling from beginning to end.

Breezy, Charming Caper

This is director Braff’s third feature film. Primarily known for his acting work on the show Scrubs, Braff has proven to have quite the eye behind the camera. There’s no doubt it could be quite intimidating directing any of these three actors, let alone in one movie. But Braff has enough confidence with his leads and helps keeps things focused enough to let the story shine through as well.

Supporting Cast Almost As Good As Leads

It doesn’t hurt that he also put Ann-Margaret (Bye Bye Birdie), Matt Dillon (Crash, There’s Something About Mary) and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) in the movie. Not to mention the other dozen or so recognizable actors that pop up throughout, making this easy to swallow movie that much more enjoyable.

But the biggest draw here are the three leads. This is the sixth time Freeman and Caine have worked together and they have the chemistry to prove it. And Arkin shows us again and again that he’s one of the funniest and most watchable actors ever to play the game.

The actual stakes in the movie are fairly low, which makes the actual heist a little too by-the-numbers, but honestly it’s not too much of a detriment, as Freeman, Caine and Arkin keeps things lively and funny enough throughout.

Worth It

Overall, Going In Style is worth it just to see the three acting legends having a good time goofing around. Here’s hoping they get more chances like this in the future.


Neruda

Playing this weekend at the Cary Theater, Neruda is a super stylish look at Chilean history, blending history and fiction to bring the same intensity as the film’s namesake to film.

Great Vibe

It does not take long for viewers to realize director Pablo Larraín has a specific look and feel he wants in his movie and he is going all in to make it happen. You may have seen his other film from this past year, Jackie, and while I didn’t personally like Jackie much, it’s dark, arresting look cannot be denied.

Neruda tells the story of Chile’s turn to a dictatorship, framed with poet Pablo Neruda fleeing police custody as he was a member of the then-outlawed Communist Party. But as Neruda runs, he is pursued by Peluchoneau, a conniving and unsettling policeman who boasts never letting anyone escape his clutches.

As the chase goes on, Neruda has the pace and tone of a classic crime caper but looks like something out of a dream, almost with a David Lynch kind of nightmarish quality. Larraín definitely knows how to put his stamp on a film.

What’s Real? What’s Fake?

Talking about Neruda with your friends may be difficult, particularly if they are sticklers for films about historical events. There is a lot in here that is true, with Luis Gnecco’s (No, The Stranger) portrayal of Pablo Neruda drawing on the poet’s real political and cultural influences. And the story of Chile’s political upheaval in the late 1940s will teach you a lot about the country’s history if you are unaware.

But then there is the fakery. Pluchoneau is not a real person and it unclear if he is based on anyone real. But this helps the film in a big way as Gael García Bernal (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Babel) can make him a larger than life character, which is Neruda‘s highlight.

While you may find the fictionalizing of history frustrating, it serves the movie well. Not only does it allow Larraín to craft his tone but it hints at the dark future Chile has in store at that point in time. Neruda itself is rather energetic but it does not disguise the coming decades that Larraín knows as a Chilean himself.

Worth It

This is a movie for everyone: fans of history, fans of style, fans of thrillers, fans of weird villainous characters. Neruda is a triumph and shows there are great movies being made all over the world.

Neruda is playing at the Cary Theater at 2 and 9:30 PM on Thursday, April 13; 9 PM on Friday, April 14; and 9:15 PM on Thursday, April 20, 2017.


Jordan Hunt reviews movies for CaryCitizen. Read more Movie Reviews. Photos from Facebook (Going In Style/Neruda).

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