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Review: Golden Years

Golden Years

The story of pensioners robbing a bank might be more at home on the news than the silver screen but ‘Golden Years’ follows a group of senior citizens who, after finding they have lost their pensions are forced to go to extreme lengths. Whilst the film boasts quite an impressive British cast ‘Golden Years’ delivers a light hearted but unfortunately vacuous attempt to tell such a story.

It might surprise you to learn that ‘Golden Years’ was partly written and funded by Nick Knowles of DIY SOS fame and teaming up with Jeremy Sheldon (writer) and John Miller (Director) has created the story of retired couple Arthur (Bernard Hill) and Martha Goode (Virginia McKenna) who discover that the financial crisis has wiped out their pensions. In order to reclaim what they feel is rightfully theirs they hit a series of banks and steal back their pensions along with those of their similarly Stricken friends. The film possesses an impressive supporting cast of British stalwarts including Simon Callow, Una Stubbs, Sue Johnston and Alun Armstrong.

Whilst you might think that a heist narrative would inherently be exciting you would be wrong. The film barely has a pulse. Apparently it took 7 years to make and it trundles along at the speed of a saloon car with caravan in tow. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but even when the robberies start it has a very slow and breezy daytime TV feel. The film concentrates more on presenting modern life as some kind of senior citizen dystopia with everyone out to get them. The real issues that push them to take extraordinary actions are not explored beyond a brief chat at the bowls club and whilst no one expects light comedy to concentrate on heavily moral issues it is detracting brushed under the carpet.

So, it’s more a light hearted style Ealing comedy than Breaking Bad exploration of those forced to extremes but is ‘Golden Years’ funny? Well in short if you like repetitive stereotypical jokes about older people having or not having sex this film is for you.

Whilst ‘Golden Years’ contains some good acting the respectable cast doesn’t have much to work with. The film could actually use some of Nick Knowles DIY SOS as the characterisation needs ripping out and rebuilding from scratch. Here characters are one dimensional; template stereotypes that we never really get to know and subsequently don’t care about. There are potential moments of real humanness to be explored which have been missed, but seemingly not for the sake of comedy.

Admittedly I am probably not the target audience for this film and I am positive that there is an audience out there for Golden Years. If you like Daytime TV (See the soap Doctors) and are looking for a simple, light and airy story about pensioners that won’t overexcite the senses then this is for you. Otherwise best to avoid. Maybe grab a tartan blanket, flask of tea and take your gran.


Golden Years opens in the UK on 29th April 2016.


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