It must be noted that independent cinema is stronger than ever. Providing a plot and premise is in order, near enough perfection will come into the equation of respectable film making. Golden Years truly proves to be of that high calibre as a story of old age pensioners on the verge of poverty is an interesting one. What would you do if your pension scheme would extinguish to ashes? Do you assent to the atrocities or fight back like Robin Hood, regardless of old age being a weakness? Let’s just enumerate that the older you are, the less of a suspect you’ll be. The fun of the film is how the elderly defy stereotype and act like ‘‘ard criminals’.
The plot is intriguing as simplicity provides light hearted escapism, nonetheless to walk away perusing the appalling facts of how OAP’s are treated makes the viewer ponder, what should our Government do to take care of the elderly in a more feasible manner? The fate of the elderly is devastating. The financial crisis and stubborn refusal to accept the injustice of old age have forced retired couple Arthur (Bernard Hill) and Martha (Virginia McKenna) into a life of crime. Refusing to take the loss of their life savings lying down, they decide to fight back and take what’s rightly theirs.
The audience are truly on the protagonist’s side as we watch them hit a series of banks, steal their pensions and those of their similarly stricken friends. One would assume for them to quit whilst ahead. However there would be no tension if this occurred. Arthur and Martha make the bold decision to rob bigger banks, hence the raids get riskier, the police get closer and the chances of our brave outlaws being caught get higher. To parody a subject matter that is serious adds to the charm of the film. The audience truly empathise with the protagonists’ cause and want them to get away with their crimes like DiCaprio’s Frank Abagnale Jr. in Catch me if you Can.
To use good character actors to play the leads is a wise decision. Independent cinema may not need to employ Bill Nighy or Maggie Smith. Providing the performance is strong which is all that matters. Bernard Hill known for supporting roles in Lord of the Rings and Titanic carries the film like a heavyweight. His vulnerable, polite and abiding citizen builds to be a fed up pensioner that eventually retaliates. He truly has taken advantage of this leading role and uses the other actors around him for good sparring. The love and fondness he has for Virginia McKenna‘s character is truly genuine on screen. The fact that he cares for her in sickness and in health truly accentuates his good hearted nature. McKenna is endearing, lovable and plays ‘senile’ effectively. To see her strive for the sunset is an excellent goal that we all support. But to see what she does in order to get it makes her performance entertaining and enthralling.
Be that as it may, Simon Callow’s comedic timing is flawless. His character Royston, friend to Arthur and Martha practically steals the show. No spoilers must be given but to see how he pays homage to his character in Four Weddings and a Funeral is to die for. He is now an actor that is pivotal to funeral scenarios. Overall the film works well. The target audience would be for the middle aged and preferably senior citizens. Furthermore, the robbery scenes are hilarious as the loveable thieves are hyped to be lethal criminals, but are nothing more than accident prone people. Nonetheless, Golden Years is well worth a watch as it provides originality considering a film about how the elderly rebel against society is seldom seen.
Golden Years is in cinemas 29th April 2016.
Director: John Miller
Stars: Philip Davis, Bernard Hill, Simon Callow
Runtime: 96 mins
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