Golden Years – a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

December 5, 2016 by Roz Tarszisz
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For the oldies in this British comedy caper, there’s nothing golden about their declining years. After a lifetime of upright citizenship, there’s no back up or recourse when their superannuation funds collapse.

Arthur (Bernard Hill), looks after his wife Martha (Virginia McKenna) who has Crohn’s Disease.  They are happy enough in their routines and enjoy the company of friends at their local bowling club. When Arthur receives two lots of bad financial news, he is perplexed and angry, wondering  how they can cope financially.

Royston (Simon Callow) and Shirley (Una Stubbs) are facing penury and for them and their friends it’s a struggle for survival. There’s no respect for senior citizens in this modern Britain.

During a security cash delivery at a local bank, a guard is inadvertently knocked out. On the spot and in an act of desperation, Arthur makes off with a box of money containing 50,000 pounds and the police have no idea who committed the heist. When Martha finds out she insists on becoming her husband’s accomplice and they set off on a National Trust houses tour, interspersed with bank robberies at towns along the way. I found that aspect particularly funny.

At police HQ Sid (Alun Armstrong) is working on the case but is frustrated by the attention seeking antics of the younger Stringer (Brad Moore). His neglected wife Nancy (Sue Johnston) is sad at the poor state of their marriage and later has a pivotal role in the farcical plot.

Eventually Arthur and Martha rope in their friends for a really big heist in an effort to save their beloved bowling club from being sold. There’s delicious irony when the robbers donning old people’s masks as disguises are already white-haired and a bit doddery themselves.

If it seems rather familiar, a few years back Israeli film Hunting Elephants also explored the notion of frustrated seniors taking their revenge on an uncaring system by staging a bank holdup.

The cast and performances by British film and television stalwarts including Phil Davis as Brian are excellent and among the pathos there are some laugh out loud scenes.

3.5/5   PG Limited release Out now  96 mins  2016

Starring Bernard Hill, Simon Callow, Una Stubbs, Phil Davis, Alun Armstrong, Sue Johnston, Virginia McKenna

Directed by John Miller

Written by John Miller, Nick Knowles, Jeremy Sheldon


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