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Golden Years


Stars: Virginia McKenna, Bernard Hill, Philip Davis, Simon Callow, Una Stubbs, Alun Armstrong, Sue Johnston, Mark Williams, Nigel Allen, Lily Travers

Director: John Miller

A very lightweight UK comedy, pretty amateurishly made, about a group of geriatric bank robbers at large in one of the leafier suburbs of Bristol. Still, credit director Miller and producer Nick Knowles for assembling a cast of well-known faces on what looks lie a budget of about a tenner.

Arthur (Hill), a stalwart of the local bowls and bingo club, worries about paying for his wife Martha's (McKenna) Crohn's disease treatment, but is shattered when told the company he worked for has gone into liquidation and his pension pot is decimated.

Observing the regular drops of the local security van, Arthur is already entertaining vague ideas of robbing it when fortune drops the van's strongbox pretty much in his lap. Narrowly avoiding a disaster that would have been engendered by forcing the box open, Arthur finds himself the proud possessor of £50,000.

You'd think that this might be sufficient for life, but Arthur and Martha, who quickly susses out the situation, get a taste of robbing the rich to help the poor (themselves). Soon, half of the bowls club is roped in on the operation, to the chagrin of the local inspector (Armstrong) and his jack-the-lad sergeant (Brad Moore, considerably OTT).

McKenna's an icon of the British cinema, but here she looks more like Hilll's mother than his wife, while Callow's fate makes it all too tempting to call this unpretentious venture Four Robberies and a Funeral. Sadly in real life, these pensioners would never get away with it.

The film's credits contains what must be the longest cast list ever seen, down to the tiniest extra role. Perhaps they all contributed to that £10 budget.

David Quinlan

UK 2015. UK Distributor: Moli Entertainment. Colour (unspecified).
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 25 Apr 2016