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OCEANS’S 8 (2018)

Ocean's 8 poster

CAST
SANDRA BULLOCK
RICHARD ARMITAGE
AWKWAFINA
CATE BLANCHETT
HELENA BONHAM-CARTER
JAMES CORDEN
GIDEON GLICK
ANNE HATHAWAY
MINDY KAILING
SARAH PAULSON
RIHANNA
RICHARD ROBICHAUX
DAMIAN YOUNG

BASED UPON CHARACTERS CREATED BY
GEORGE CLAYTON JOHNSON
JACK GOLDEN RUSSELL

STORY BY
GARY ROSS

SCREENPLAY BY
OLIVIA MILCH
GARY ROSS

PRODUCED BY
SUSAN EKINS
STEVEN SODERBERGH

DIRECTED BY
GARY ROSS

RATED
AUS:M
UK:12A
USA:PG-13

RUNNING TIME
110 MIN

 

 

Ocean's 8 image

A very faithful riff on the Ocean’s trilogy that came before it, Ocean’s 8 succeeds in creating a star-powered driven, breezily paced heist thriller that could have used a bit more stakes to up the ante.

When the credits rolled at the conclusion of Ocean’s 13, it was very clear that the heist laden adventures of Danny Ocean and crew had hit its zenith. How else could anyone top George Clooney, Brad Pitt and company topping the legendary Al Pacino? Well, in these #MeToo times the solution was simple: keep the cool, switch the gender. Thus Ocean’s 8 was born.

There is not much in Ocean’s 8 that we haven’t already experienced in the other Ocean’s films. What it does do, however, is provide a different level of cast dynamic that brings a sense of freshness to another “been there, done that” plot. Led by the perfectly cast Sandra Bullock, Ocean’s 8 is the right kind of franchise entry that proves that when it comes to making this kind male dominated crime-genre fair, the ladies can sure give the men a run for their money.

Bullock stars as Debbie Ocean, the sister of con-man supreme Danny (played previously by George Clooney) who had just done time for a job gone wrong. With the perfect heist planned and grudges to exorcise, Debbie along with her crime partner Lou (Cate Blanchett) gather an all-female crew of specialists to steal a $150 million diamond necklace from one of the worlds most watch and guarded fashion events: the Met Gala.

As directed by Seabiscuit filmmaker Gary Ross (who also co-wrote with Olivia Milch), Ocean’s 8 sticks to well-trodden formula to both successful and blasé results. From composer Daniel Pemberton’s (Steve Jobs) score that borrows heavily from Ocean’s trilogy composer David Holmes, to the smooth as silk editing from Juliette Welfing (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), there is more than the whiff of the familiar here. In one way such franchise continuity is expected. Yet like a well-made martini, it would not have hurt to shake things up a bit.

As with the other Ocean’s films, the real strength is found in its star-studded cast, and Ocean’s 8 is as impressive as it gets. Bullock plays the role of Debbie Ocean with the right kind of holding a wining hand poker-faced intensity, exuding a sultry charisma while dishing out those famous comedic chops at the right moments. Also great is Sarah Paulson as Tammy, a suburban mum who is coerced back into the “life”; Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil, a fashion designer who has seen better days; and Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger, the ditzy, sexy celebrity and target of the heist.

Of the “8” its is Cate Blanchett who fails to make the grade, playing the second-in-command Lou with a chill charm that is ice cold in delivery, not to mention a confusing back and forth between New York and Australian accents. In a film that desperately needed some stakes in the form of an Andy Garcia like villain to out a few bumps in this well-laid plan, Blanchett would have been perfect for such a turn. 

As it stands Oceans 8 is a breezy and charming heist-caper that is highly entertaining, yet not wholly memorable. Hopefully the eventual sequel will rock the boat some.

 

***

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