Ocean’s Eight (2018): ‘All Girl Heist Reboot?’ – A Film Review

 

Introduction

Back in 2001 Steven Soderbergh brought us a successful heist film with Ocean’s Eleven staring George Clooney. Actually, a remake itself, of the 1960 Ocean’s 11 heist film starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Influential to this remake was The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) (itself remade in 1999 but with less impact). The use of split screen has become iconic of the Oceans franchise which continued with Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen with increasing numbers of stars. Before then stopping for just over 10 years before a new screenplay by Director Gary Ross revives the franchise with an all-girl cast in Ocean’s Eight – with Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter amongst others. Ghostbusters saw a similar gender swap remake, so perhaps the timely reboot and its untimely continuation has more to do with that than Ocean’s Eleven.

 

Heists with Clever Plots

Whether or not the rise of “gender-swapping” films has anything to do with this reboot is debatable. Distracting from this debate we have the plot. Heist film’s main appeal lies with its clever plot developments. Keeping the audience guessing and creating tension through complications and big reveals throughout. It would actually be the appeal of the Oceans franchise, combined with its high number of stars – leading to a wonderfully acted film. When the plot points come around, there is notable attention brought to what’s going on – visible to us and visible to the extras. In some ways the acting is surprisingly stylistic to the point of not very good. This seems deliberate but again draws attention to itself far too much. This leaves the film coming off as a bit of a parody of itself. Simplistic and far too ridiculous to be taken as a serious heist – but lacking any humour to make for a credible parody.

 

All Star Cast

Despite some of the obvious moments where the acting is meant to be lacking, the star cast draws charisma and charm to the film – and is otherwise well acted. Very much like watching friends as they put on a performance (though coming across like an entertaining pantomime for the points mentioned earlier). Surprisingly, whether by acting or by plot, the film has a few mild surprises – in fact it’s too much to say surprises. Not exactly predicted but not exactly mattering or affecting much of what’s going on either. There are no big reveals and tension isn’t really felt throughout. Nothing to lose and too confident and accomplished in what’s going on. It’s far too light hearted and easy for the film to make much of an impact.

 

Conclusion

The film is safe. Completely safe. Recalling recent films like Wonder Woman that played their characters too flawlessly to have tension, and coming across as desperately trying to empower without actually considering the consequences to the story. Oceans Eight is entertaining and is a nice watch. Played safe, there is nothing to really take from it other than – well, it’s an Oceans film with all girls this time.

 

Synopsis

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is released from prison and goes straight into planning her next heist. This time targeting a fashion event and a diamond necklace.

 

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.

 

Films Mentioned

Ghostbusters (d. Paul Feig USA 2016)

Ocean’s Eight (d. Gary Ross USA 2018)

Ocean’s Eleven (d. Steven Soderbergh USA 2001)

Ocean’s Thirteen (d. Steven Soderbergh USA 2007)

Ocean’s Twelve (d. Steven Soderbergh USA 2004)

Ocean’s 11 (d. Lewis Milestone USA 1960)

The Thomas Crown Affair (d. Norman Jewison USA 1968)

Wonder Woman (d. d. Patty Jenkins USA/China/Hong Kong 2017)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Sandra Bullock

Interview with James Cordon

Interview with the Cast

Interview with Gary Ross

Behind the Scenes

Bloopers/Funny Moments

Starring Themselves

American Animals, King of Thieves and Widows: How Heist Films Are Changing (I appear as a guest writer

 

If you liked this…

Den of Thieves (2018): ‘Emotion and Plot’ – A Film Review

Wonder Woman (2017) – A Film Review

Unsane (2018): ‘Stalker Selfie – A Personal Look at Stalker Victims’ – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Ocean’s Eight (d. Gary Ross USA 2018)

 



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