WARNER BROS. PICTURES (2018)

 

Director: Gary Ross

 

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter

Hopefully this is better than Ocean’s 13.

 

It’s been eleven years since that trilogy-ending movie was released, bringing an end to the star-studded, money-making machine of the Ocean’s franchise, despite the quality declining with each subsequent release. Now, Pleasantville, Seabiscuit, and The Hunger Games director Gary Ross brings us the next installment but with a handy twist – the guys are gone and the girls are in. An all-star female ensemble cast leads the way in Ocean’s 8, though it’s still all about the heists.

The heist this time is led by pro thief Debbie Ocean (Bullock), the sister of Clooney’s Danny Ocean, as she assembles a crack squad to pull off one massively audacious heist during the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Gala – steal the Toussant necklace from the sublime neck of actress Daphne Kluger (Hathaway), a Cartier necklace worth a mere $150 million dollars. Tough work, clearly. What Debbie will need is an old friend, a fence, a pickpocket, a hacker, a jewellery maker, and a disgraced fashion designer...

 

Heist movies can be a lot of fun when they’re pulled off correctly – pretty much like a heist itself, I’d imagine – and in terms of this franchise, Ocean’s 11 got it near spot-on. It was cool, classy, fun, entertaining and the heist element worked. In Ocean’s 8, we have some of the world’s most talented actresses having a lot of fun together in a movie that itself is a lot of fun to watch, even if it does fall off the rails more than once. As an ensemble, the cast works well together with Bullock and Hathaway standing out – Hathaway is the MVP of the movie in an against-type role (despite what Hollywood would have you believe) and her sultry diva steals the show. Paulson, Rihanna and Awkwafina are the main casualties of the ensemble, receiving less screentime and, really, not a lot to do. When James Corden showed up, I wanted to blow my face off. Please, America, keep him and keep him quiet.

 

The first half of the movie is fun, fresh and the strongest part of Ocean’s 8. The band is getting together, we see them in their natural guises and the setup to the later payoff is where the majority of laughs come from. When the heist begins, the movie's success begins to wane as it all gets a bit...contrived and messy. It still retains that cool element, but narratively and writing-wise, it isn’t great. Ross manages to find time to fit in a whole caboodle of celebrity cameos, many of whom I had no idea of their identity, but I’m reliably informed that they are mega-famous.

 

Ocean’s 8 is an excellent example of a summer movie. It’s fun, cool, and great to look at whilst not being the deepest in terms of writing and story. The female cast is great and I enjoyed watching what they bought and the different spin on the familiar story. Ocean’s 8 gets by because of the cool factor, the fun performances and the desire to see these characters succeed. The storyline and actual heist, however? Not so great. That being said, grab a martini and your buddies, settle in and just have fun with this movie.

June 18th 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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