There has almost been as much hype for Ocean’s 8 as there is annually for the event that the films revolves around. Following the spectacular failure of 2016’s all-female reboot of 80s classic Ghostbusters, many were dubious when the all-female Ocean’s film was announced, despite its stellar multi-award winning cast. However, doubters, you will be eating your words. What we get with Ocean’s 8 is a fun, wild ride that is highly entertaining, extremely intelligent and filled with interesting characters, making it certainly deserving of a place within the Ocean’s franchise.
We open on a seemingly penitent Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), professional robber and estranged sister of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean, as she’s being released on parole. While she may have fooled those granting her parole, we quickly learn that she has used her five years, eight months and 12 days behind bars to plan the biggest heist of her life. Meeting up with her partner-in-crime Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett), the pair assemble a crack team to pull of her foolproof heist… The robbery of a diamond Cartier necklace worth more than $150 million at the famous Met Gala. Their team consists of jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling), street con and quick-fingered Constance (Awkwafina), suburban mum with an “eBay habit” Tammy (Sarah Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), and disgraced fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter).
Is this an award-winning film? No, but then it never attempts to be. Is it irresistibly fun, utterly charming, and an electrically exciting film? Absolutely. It’s a crazy non-stop adventure with a number of unexpected twists and developments that you just want to join the ladies and be a part of their crew. The massive multi-million dollar payday for each of them if they pull of the job, wouldn’t hurt either.
And the fashion, the jewels, the artworks, the settings? As glamorous as you would imagine. For once we all get to step inside the fabulous Met Gala and get a little taste of what the big event is actually like.
The Eight are all brilliant and fantastically cast. Bullock is a worthy successor to Clooney and leads the film well. Debbie is understated for Bullock in a comedic role and works perfectly for the character. She’s fascinating to watch and I loved her effortless deviousness. Blanchett can do no wrong here: she’s smart, she’s connected, and she’s in control. The only thing that needed changing was to cut her bloody fringe. Blanchett has such expressive eyes and they are lost and covered so much by the fringe throughout the film. Kaling was under utilised comedically, but put in a solid performance. Awkwafina was so much fun and constantly surprising. This is Paulson’s time and it has been so great to see her come into her own over the past few years. This is another great performance to add to her roster. Rihanna was amazing. She was so cool, slick and a great character. And Bonham Carter… I’ve had a love/hate relationship with her but she was a standout. Her natural eccentricity was wonderfully incorporated into Rose and I absolutely loved her.
Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger (the celebrity target of the heist) was fantastic. She was bratty, self-absorbed and had great comedic timing. The chemistry between the whole cast was electric and just so much fun to watch. They worked and played off one another really well.
On the whole the movie is well paced. The set up, the heist and the pay off were all well executed and didn’t lag at all. The only slight criticism is the post-heist scenes with the introduction of James Corden’s insurance investigator. It slows the pace and energy of the film down and while you do get a pay off for the whole sequence at the very end of the film, they could have cut this down a bit and it would have worked better. I was also expecting more comedy throughout the film. There were a number of literal laugh out loud moments but it wasn’t as funny as I thought it would be and this was the greatest difference between it and the previous Ocean films.
Ocean’s 8 has been seen as a women’s film, an all-female heist film, however that really does not do the film justice. Yes it’s a women-led film, yes the setting and the prize is traditionally feminine, and yes at one point in the film, Lou suggests to Debbie that they add a man to the crew for one of the roles to which Debbie replies, “a him gets noticed, a her gets ignored, for once we want to be ignored”, but that is not the story they are telling or the line they are pushing. They are telling a heist story, a really great heist story, that just happens to feature women carrying it off and I think that is where it really succeeds. These are the types of films we need to see more of.
Ocean’s 8 is now in cinemas in Australia and is released in the US on June 8 and the UK on June 18.
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