The Steven Soderbergh Ocean’s Trilogy is known for three things: its star-studded cast, the classic cons and superb direction. And while the new Ocean’s 8 certainly don’t lack big names or fancy tricks it does suffer from having a particularly bland director.
Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8, which boasts the collective star power of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson, is an enjoyable romp much like the George Clooney-Brad Pitt films it is spun out of.
The film’s slick production, impressive score and excellent pacing helps elevate it from a typical heist movie and keeps the viewer engaged throughout its 2 hr 15 min run. The movie revolves around con woman Debby Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the sister of Clooney’s character in the Ocean’s trilogy who hatches a plan to rob a valuable diamonds from the neck of a famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Gala and ropes in seven other women to help her out in her scheme.
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Among them is her longtime friend and fellow con artist Lou (Blanchett), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), black market contact Tammy (a charming if a bit underused Sarah Paulson) and jewellery maker Anita (A Wrink in Time’s Mindy Kaling). The two also employ Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) a disgraced fashion designer in trouble with the IRS.
Carter and Hathaway are easily the two scene-stealers of the film with both Academy Award nominees making the most of their material. Hathaway, in particular, turns what would simply be a standard Hollywood celebrity caricature into something more compelling and her character is easily the most fun to watch.
The all-female film certainly had its share of naysayers prior to its release, with many even doubting that such a film could do well at the box office. But within weeks of its release, the new Ocean’s has already become the biggest opener in its franchise. And truly, Ocean’s Eight isn’t as much a worthy successor to the Ocean’s films as it is a great first installment for a trilogy of its own.
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Because of how fleshed out the characters are and the general ingenuity of the story, the fourth gender-reversed Ocean’s film feels like a beast of its own. The biggest flaw of the film though, is that the director, Gary Ross, is unable to provide the stylistic flair that Soderbergh brought to his Ocean’s films.
The film feels particularly dry in parts. It doesn’t help that the editing is rather weak at times and some actors (in particular Blanchett) are underutilized. All in all Ocean’s Eight is a consistently entertaining film with wit, charm and a heist that’s good enough to keep you at the edge of your seat.