Golden Years | Film review - West Country pensioners turn bank-robbing Bonnie & Clyde

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Shopping trolley in tow, West Country pensioners Bernard Hill and Virginia McKenna seek payback for the loss of their life savings by turning bank-robbing Bonnie and Clyde in this sedate crime comedy co-written by director John Miller and DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles.

That the duo’s robbery spree is such a gentle affair is the source of many of the movie’s gags – their getaway car is a Volvo with a caravan on the back and their bank targets chosen by their proximity to National Trust properties – but the geriatric pace means that the laughs are on the gentle side, too.

The filmmakers are clearly aiming to recapture the spirit of vintage Ealing Studios comedies about plucky underdogs kicking back against the system but fall well short of those classics, despite sterling support from an impressive muster of old-timers, including Una Stubbs, Simon Callow, Phil Davis and Alun Armstrong.

Golden Years deserves kudos, though, for having pointed fun with the way society renders the old invisible. After all, Hill and McKenna’s retired couple are the very last people anyone – least of all the brash permatanned copper leading the investigation (Brad Moore) – would suspect of pulling off a series of heists.

Certificate 12A. Runtime 96 mins. Director John Miller

Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.