We've seen Ocean's 11, Ocean's 12 not to mention Ocean's 13 and now we have Ocean's 8. Unlike the title implies this isn't a prequel to the George Clooney and Brad Pitt glory days with fewer members but a sequel involving Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett. Hunger Games director Gary Ross sets to re-establish or in this case re-re-establish (if you consider the original 1960 Frank Sinatra/Dean Martin Ocean's 11) the franchise with nine brilliant ladies to lead it. Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean, recruits an all female crew to pull of one of the trickiest heists imaginable when she decides to rob the MET Gala in New York City.
Boasting one of the best casts this year, Ocean's 8 is slick and stylish but a little simple and unfocused. Ross has brought the Oceans series into comfortable ground assembling a team that is arguably just as good as Clooney's 11, however the story seems to drag along rather than skillfully unfold towards the unexpected climax. It suffers from noticeable pacing issues for a large chunk of the film - there's no time wasted bringing the team together, however in the phases leading up to the heist Ocean's 8 loses sight of its story. As Debbie Ocean states it took her "Five years, eight months and twelve days" to hatch her plan nonetheless the story feels haphazardly put together and aside a few clever twists appears a little basic - even for an Oceans flick.
It's rather disappointing that the plot is unable to match what is otherwise a very entertaining, heavily 60's inspired heist movie. Though it may not offer a story as smart as Clooney's 11 it certainly offers one just as stylish. The split screen returns in all its glory as scenes slot, click, and slide into one another and the camera zooms from one point to the next within the same shot playing just like an old-fashioned hollywood movie. Integrally, despite some very strong comparisons to Soderbergh's original reboot, Ocean's 8 fights to sets itself apart but sadly the set up is all too familiar, and does feel a bit here we go again.
One thing that Ocean's 8 certainly isn't short of though is charm. The roster of nine fabulous ladies delivers one of the best casts of 2018 as well as an arguably superior Oceans's team. Wether it's due to the reduction in members or not - decreasing from the oversized 13 last time round - Ocean's 8 provides a rare treat: a team that is well balanced with each member holding their own. Forget the heist, the only impossible aspect of Ocean's 8 is trying to find your favourite member. Bullock is fantastic as the new Danny Ocean leading the pack - but if I had to pick a few standouts Awkwafina comes to mind as the wise cracking pickpocket and Helena Bonham Carter is simply wonderful as the failing fashion designer Rose Weil. However Anne Hathaway completely steals the show as the magnificent prima donna Daphne Kluger - putting one hundred and ten percent into her diva performance which screams come back.
Ocean's 8 is very enjoyable however leaves me with mixed feelings, despite being excited to see these ladies return for another heist along with their equally stellar soundtrack. If Ross' direction were a little more focused and the story a little sharper then the pros would certainly outweigh the cons but for the time being it's balanced between the two. The cast is simply amazing and Rhianna's Rastafarian hacker 9-Ball proves to be yet another win for this singer turned cameo actress - but please may James Cordon not return! He sticks out like a sore thumb and adds a Gavin and Stacy style taint over an otherwise slick but simple feature.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.