Review of 'Ocean's Eight'

oceans8.jpg Following her release from prison, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of now deceased Danny Ocean (main character played by George Clooney in the 2001 remake “Ocean's Eleven” and follow-ups, predictably, “Ocean's Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean's Thirteen” in 2007) enlists the support of her former partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett) in a jewel heist she planned while in prison. They quickly gather a gang to pull off the job: Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter) a former big-name fashion designer to the stars who has recently lost her touch and is now deeply in debt; Amita (Mindy Kaling) a jewellery designer looking for financial independence; Nine Ball (Rihanna) a rough and ready computer hacker and con artist; Tammy (Sarah Paulson) a profiteer selling stolen goods out of her garage. The job is stealing the Toussaint, a $150 million Cartier necklace, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York during their prestigious yearly “Met Gala”. They enlist famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) as their unwitting accomplice, convincing Cartier to let her wear the necklace to the ball to match an outfit designed by Ross Weil.

This is a somewhat slick attempt to reboot the, by now, rather tired “Ocean's Eleven” franchise by turning it on the head with a new lead and a all-female group of thieves which does not entirely hit all the marks. There is little of the subtle, sly, whit and humour of the Clooney-led franchise and the heist is surprisingly mundane, albeit with a few unexpected twists in the later 1/4 of the film. Though they have a computer-whiz she is limited to simply turning off the cameras and alarms, so the action is more about physical deception and misdirection. In other words, other than the female cast there is not much new to see here and little is brought to the table over the previous films. BTW, the “Eight” in the title does come to fruition towards the end.

The cast seem largely engrossed in their own characters rather than working together in any sort of ensemble with each almost visibly struggling to keep the camera focus on them. There is little warmth to any of the characters but more “macho” bravado and peacocking. Indeed, we care so little it makes little odds whether they win or lose at the end (though, HINT, this is a blockbuster HOLLYWOOD film with big stars, what do you think happens?). It just seems that they are going through the numbers of what has come before with only the sex-swap as a selling point.

Yeah, it was moderately entertaining with the occasional surprise followed by many minutes of boring dialogue that pads out the running time but adds little to the story. Ultimately “Oceans Eight” left me feeling…“meh”.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2021-01-24

Directed by: Gary Ross

Studio: Warner Bros.

Year: 2018

Length: 110 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Gary Ross: