Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling
Director: Gary Ross
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: Upon her release from prison, Debbie, the estranged sister of legendary conman Danny Ocean, puts together a team of unstoppable crooks to pull of the heist of the century. Their goal is New York City’s annual Met Gala, and a necklace worth in excess of 150 million dollars.
When I first saw the promotional material of Ocean’s 8, I was cautiously optimistic about what could happen with this project. Would it be disappointing like 2016’s Ghostbusters or would it stand out with something original that merited a sequel in the first place? While the plot has little to be desired, great chemistry between the ensemble cast and a strong performance by lead actress Bullock turn Ocean’s 8 into a legitimately good time.
The plot follows Debbie Ocean (Bullock), sister of protagonist from the original Ocean’s trilogy Danny Ocean, who has recently been placed on parole after serving five years in jail. During her time in jail, she began devising a way to pull of the biggest heist of her life. After assembling her team, Debbie and her six other allies attempt to rob a necklace off of A-list celebrity Daphne Kluger (Hathaway) that is valued at over $150 million. With the eyes of some of the greatest security in the world on them, will they be able to pull off this heist or with Debbie fail and end up back in jail? One of the things this film does very well is it establishes Debbie’s credibility immediately. Upon her release from jail, Debbie goes on a shoplifting and fraud spree that is executed so effortlessly but that is also grounded within reality. Where the film succeeds is it shows us that Debbie is just an above-average intelligent woman who is able to take advantage of situations and people due to her attention to detail. She is not some superhero who ends up performing tasks that are way outside of a normal person’s skill set, but realistically any of us pull off if we paid enough attention. This detail is passed along to all of the characters in the crew, as all of them specialize in a particular area that benefits the group and is properly utilized. Outside of their actually talent at criminal activity, these actresses are all spectacular in their roles no matter how large or small. They are all able to combine a high level of intelligence, humor, and charisma as they attempt to perform their role in a seemingly impossible task. The only two actresses I was worried about due to either generally poor performances in the past or a lack of familiarity were Rihanna and Awkwafina, but both them did well in the amount of time that they were given.
Regardless of how well the film exceeded my expectations in these areas, there are still a few areas where the film had problems. Most of these problems come from the concept of everything regarding the heist working out too perfectly. When Debbie starts to assemble her team, she outlines the type of people she needs for the job, and between Debbie and her partner Lou (Blanchett), they all know someone who fits the description. This just feels kind of lazy to me, like this is as close to the, “don’t worry, I know a guy,” cliché as you can get without actually outright saying it. I just had a hard time believing that Debbie and Lou have either worked with all of these people in the past or somehow know that they will be the perfect fit for the job. Outside of that, I never felt as if there was any real tension in the film. Debbie said that she had prepared for every possible situation in this heist, and in this case she literally meant every situation. Any time you think maybe there is a chance that they will get caught, Debbie has a plan to get them out of trouble with ease. I know that the other Ocean’s films have this problem as well, but it is hard to get invested in a film where you know that there is never really going to be any consequences for their actions.
Overall, Ocean’s 8 is a more than respectable addition to the Ocean’s franchise. I definitely get nervous when people try to touch older movies and franchises with the intention of modernizing them, but in this case I believe this would have been perfectly fine as a standalone film. While not a perfect movie, Ocean’s 8 is the direction people should strive for when they consider remodeling films we are nostalgic about.
Overall Score: 6.5/10