Ocean’s 8 is both a clever crime caper and a disappointing heist. The films plot is straight forward, incarcerated Debbie Ocean, sister of now deceased Danny Ocean (George Clooney from the original Ocean’s films), is paroled and swiftly goes about finding a new team to pull off an impressive jewellery heist. The motley crew she assembles comprises of some of the best actresses working today… Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter etc. The film is fun. Its everything you could expect from an Ocean’s heist film. The performances are good across the board, pacing is up, editing is sharp and the laughs are present through some clever character comedy. The only problem is it’s far too simple. The scheme is explained, executed and that’s that. The film floats at an effortless level, never falling over, but also never really getting any good. The writers created an interesting group of characters, but nothing happens with them. The plot and end goal seems far too easy, with the ladies biggest threat turning out to be nothing more than James Cordens’ bumbling insurance agent. Where is the stakes in that? For characters so full of hubris, there is no catharsis in them winning. The final twist (if you can even call it that) is a major letdown, having a group of women come together to pull off one of the biggest crimes in history, you’d expect there to be some backstabbing or intrigue… but there isn’t. It’s just too straightforward.
Rest assured however, this is NOT a ‘Ghostbusters’ female spin travesty. It’s quite enjoyable to watch. Problem is we’ve seen this sort of movie too often. Director and writer Gary Ross does a sleek job of keeping things light and moving along, but he never conjures that sensation of a truly tricky crime caper. The best way to describe this film is… fun and convincing without being dazzling.
Let’s talk about Sandra Bullock. Once upon a time she was a star whom oozed unparalleled charisma and likeability. In this, to be frank, it’s somewhat sad to see someone that was once so great resort to phoning it in. Bullocks face not only doesn’t move, it doesn’t even look like she cares very much. Cate Blanchett is criminally underused, Helena Bonham Carter is at her zany best and Sarah Paulson shows once again that she is supremely underrated. Also, Rihanna more than makes up for her failed acting attempts of the past by being pleasantly interesting to watch. Anne Hathaway however does her best to come across as likeable but something goes amiss, either it’s the writing or her performance but sadly she is very forgettable.
This is a welcome addition to the Ocean’s franchise and a refreshing feminine twist whose character dynamics work somewhat better than the male driven entries of the past. One wishes this cast were given the first Ocean’s film. One can’t really dislike this film, but they can also not truly love it as it’s slightly too middle of the road. After the credits roll, it leaves a feeling of definitely wanting more adventures from these women. A sequel with more stakes would be highly enjoyed and anticipated.
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