The fact that there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking or mind-blowing would normally be a strike against a movie; but this particular caper seems to be an homage to Guy Ritchie’s signature style, rather than a knockoff. As closely as anyone could base a movie on a major British news story, several old professional thieves team up to procure retirement funds. But don’t be fooled; though they only steal from the filthy rich and never kill anyone, none of them could be compared to Robin Hood. The young’un of the bunch has specific recruiting criteria: “Now the way I see it, this is an old school gig. And needs an old school crew.” However, as one of the first of the reluctant hires points out, “There’s old school and then there’s just… old.” According to the actor who plays him, “People should see this movie because this is what your granddad was up to when you weren’t looking.”
I liked this movie upon first viewing and have re-watched it since. I should clarify: the original version; while Kate Winslet’s talent is undeniable, remaking a classic film in color serves no purpose. I would, however, be interested in seeing this reinterpreted in a modern context as the themes (e.g. permissive parenting and familial loyalty) are still relevant and need revisiting. History repeats itself, especially when Society fails to pay attention to former generations when they tried to warn us. Some viewers will automatically assume an old movie—particularly one in black and white—is outdated. But its archetypical style is precisely what will induce the connotations necessary to see the film through, such as not being in a hurry to get to the action or the assurance that it won’t rely too heavily upon sequencing gimmicks to explain background information. Ultimately, its enduring legacy can be attributed to superior filmmaking, which includes everything from acting to editing.
It’s as if Hitchcock went to Paris. He didn’t but a script full of twists and turns brought to life by two of the most elegant lead actors ever to grace the screen, supported by high-quality talent is bound to yield mystery, action, suspense, humor and romance. What’s not to like?
The very thing this gem has going for it is also its downfall, at least as far as marketing is concerned: its genre is unclassifiable. The closest comparison would be a musical, the likes of which have only been attempted during a few seconds of a TV ad. The score is the soundtrack is the playlist to which the main character listens throughout the movie. But rather than singing, choreography is the main draw. In fact, it’s practically a main character. Everything from windshield wiper blades swiping to car doors slamming to gunshots firing is perfectly synched to the rhythm of the music. Be ready to immerse yourself in the story of a silent getaway driver the moment it starts (e.g. the lyrics of the opening song are visually incorporated into the scenery as graffiti, product labels, print ads, etc.). The style of this film is certainly clever but excellent acting coupled with the unique premise of unlikely partners in crime is what makes it thoroughly engaging.