Once upon a time, comedy heist movies were everywhere and were always good for a giggle or two. So it’s refreshing to see a Brit-flick that’s not only revisiting the genre, but doing so with a difference. Golden Years has attracted a lot of attention this year and it’s easy to see why.
In recent times, we have become accustomed to hearing of problems such as the credit crunch, tax hikes, pub closures and worthless pensions. This might not sound like the inspiration for a light-hearted affair, but that’s one of the things that this film does so well; it’s easy for an audience to relate to and puts a positive spin on such negative subject matter.
The story centres around retired couple Arthur and Martha Goode (Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna). Having recently discovered that his hard-earned pension pot is now worth a whole lot less than he’d anticipated, Arthur is desperate to feel young again as well as a little bit richer, despite his other half standing firmly by him. Their lives, and those of the people around them, are turned upside-down – with the help of a caravan and a few cucumbers – after he unwittingly pulls off the perfect crime.
Plenty of moral conundrums ensue and, while things do get a little far-fetched at times, it all makes for extremely heart-warming and uplifting stuff. This unlikely story is also set to an electrifying soundtrack, with some not so obvious classics thrown in – almost reminiscent of a Tarantino tracklist.
So who’s the brains behind this movie (for the most part, anyway)? None other than Nick Knowles, he of DIY SOS and National Lottery fame. Seven years ago he decided to turn his hand to scripwriting and, after a few sessions with director John Miller, the pair managed to churn out the beginnings of Golden Years. With Jeremy Sheldon also lending a hand with the screenplay and Mark Foligno of The King’s Speech fame producing, the end product is a superbly-crafted, not to mention surprisingly good debut for the TV presenter.
But with a cast like this, it was almost a given that it would succeed. It truly is all-star, top-drawer and befitting of any other hackneyed superlative you care to trot out. Hill and McKenna are a match made in heaven as the main protagonists. Hill’s hushed tones that helped make the 2008 BBC nature series Wild China such a success, really do make his character possibly the most unlikely criminal in movie history. As for McKenna, you wouldn’t think she’d been away from acting for so many years. The rest are all superb to a man and woman as well, but a special mention must go to Simon Callow, who is on typically energetic and irreverent form (with a nifty West Country accent to boot) as the larger-than-life Royston.
On the back of this, Molifilms Entertainment, High Fliers Films and Content Media have been very pleased to announce that Golden Years is to be released on DVD and general digital release on August 29, and is available to pre-order on iTunes right now.
Knowles’ next project is apparently imminent and will be a period piece set in Napoleonic Mauritius. If it’s half as good as this, I genuinely can’t wait.