I’m a sucker for a heist movie but I’m not a sucker for a cash grab – I can always smell it from the trailer.
Ever since Ocean’s 8 was announced, I could sense the Hollywood boardrooms rubbing their hands together at the notion of an all-female version of the series – the three previous iterations starred mostly all dudes, so the potential for Ocean’s 8 to be a fresh, hip and modern take of the genre was rife. Unfortunately it just falls short in almost every facet to the previous installments, despite it being a passably okay movie.
Sandra Bullock is Debbie Ocean, basically George Clooney’s character re-incarnated (she’s his sister in the film, so close enough) the same all-knowing, wise-cracking lovable fraudster with a grand plan only she knows about.
The movie literally starts the same as Oceans 11 so from the get-go I felt like we were getting a remake rather than a sequel – don’t be fooled by the lesser number 8, this is set after 13. They’ve done the Fast and Furious here with simply not caring about chronology.
Then she comes across Cate Blanchett aka the Brad Pitt, her bestie in crime, and the two get to work on their biggest score to date – robbing the MET Gala, the most exclusive party in the world. Soon assembling their team of varying levels of expertise (and celebrity) from Mindy Kaling to Rhianna to Helena Bonham Carter, it’s a fairly run of the mill process of preparation you’d expect from a heist movie. All seem to have decent chemistry despite feeling a little ham-fisted sometimes.
I’m a fan of how easily they brush off not needing any men – “they attract unwanted attention.” Though I’m not a fan of what seems to be a replica script at times with the banter, and what never really feels like any tension in the build up.
What makes a heist movie great is hearing the plan, but when it comes to the day that’s not what we see; there’s adaptation and suspense, though in this case everything kinda just plods along as a sequence of events (save for one great twist which almost makes up for it all).
My biggest issue is, if the angle of the movie is all about empowering women, then why did a man direct it? Same goes for the Ghostbuster movie reboot, it makes little sense to not have the whole production be guided by the vision and ideas of someone like Patty Jenkins or even Sandra Bullock herself, so it is a holistically female film.
Despite the niggling issues, Oceans 8 is definitely a fun-filled ride with plenty of good moments and scenes. The setting is cool and a nice take on the old plot of just robbing casinos and hotels. Each character gets a chance to shine and who doesn’t love a bit of funky jazz music playing whilst smart and attractive people pull off a humongous robbery and make you forget stealing is wrong?
Dendy – home of quality cinema