OTHER THAN (IN my case) a problem with a Virgin Media and a stiflingly hot house, there really is no good reason to make the effort to see this trifling, if intermittently entertaining, bauble. The good news is that (for Hollywood at least) it’s a radical departure from the norm: a non ‘chick flick’ movie with an entirely female cast of leads. (Sadly this great initiative didn’t extend to the production crew: the director, DP, writer, composer, production designer etc. were all male. You don’t want to rush things in Hollywood)
The story follows the path laid down by the original Steve Soderberg Oceans Eleven. There are a duo of leaders (in this case, wise cracking, super cool George Clooney as Danny Ocean and a junk food munching Brad Pitt have been replaced by the Botox mask of who might be Sandra Bullock as Danny’s sister and her subservient second in command, Cate Blanchett). They plot the heist (an impossibly expensive Cartier necklace to be worn on the exquisite throat of Anne Hathaway during the annual Met ball), gather the rag-tag crew and pull off the heist with aplomb and well-courtiered sangre froid.
It’s a pale imitation of the original. Gone is the very smart script from George Clayton Johnson that helped to flesh out a bunch of delightful characters with whom it was such a pleasure to spend a few hours. Gone too is the foil. Andy Garcia was such a nasty piece of work that we rooted for Danny and gang to deliver his comeuppance. And gone is the tension…those multiple occasions when things seemed to be heading south.
Oceans Eight has a few early cons (Sandra Bullock pulling off a clever, massive store-aided shop lift) that are great fun. But the details of the heist are so silly and the characters so underwritten that, apart from a tremendous performance from Anne Hathaway, the entire enterprise just drags along to its unsurprising conclusion. Director Gary Ross (of Hunger Games) plods through the action, drearily lit by Eigil Byld (In Bruges).
The big disappointment though was Sandra. Her usual buoyancy and comic timing seemed off…perhaps hiding under the face-filling need to stay forever thirty.
Let’s please not have an Ocean’s Nine. This franchise wore out its shelf life after the lacklustre self-referential Oceans Eleven. More Oceans would probably violate some clause in the Geneva Convention
OCEANS EIGHT. Dir: Gary Ross. With: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham-Carter, Rihanna. Writer: Gary Ross. Cinematographer: Eigil Blyd. Production design: Alex DiGerlando