Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Film: 'Ocean's 8'

The selling point of this is clearly the 'celebrity' female cast in all the major roles - and there's nothing at all wrong with that. In fact it's more than welcome, being so overdue. The names, big names, which I recognised without having to investigate further were Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena you-know-who and Rihanna. In addition James Corden makes an appearance in the film's final segment, an appearance which some have found grating but, surprising even myself, I thought was one of the film's more laudable features. However, after considering the star-bestrewn cast the qualifications start.

The plot concerns a super-valuable diamond heist during a gala dinner at New York's Metropolitan Museum, planned by the Sandra Bullock character while spending years in prison (don't ask!) she playing sister to her late brother, Danny Ocean - who'd been acted by George Clooney in the franchise trilogy of films. This Ocean family idea is obviously a ruse on which to hang the plot and draw more money for this film at the box office, and it probably will do exactly that. Other than that connection it could have worked just as well, perhaps still better, if they'd ditched the idea of a connection at all and just run with an all-female gang.

The film tries to borrow the slickness and zaniness of the earlier Ocean films and to some extent it succeeds but by now it's already started to look a bit tired and dated. The script itself, where every other rejoinder is intended to be witty, is no great shakes. The film throughout has an arch knowingness as though thinking itself ever so clever that it often nudged towards tedium. More than once I was reminded of bank robbery thrillers of the 1960s and 1970s with their now outdated explanations of the plot so we can follow it, though in this case we are expected to keep up with the rapid twists and turns which are finally laid bare in the post-heist exposures - where not everyone is what they seemed to be, you know the kind of thing - which, I surmise, was supposed to take our breaths away but for me got just a bit too close to unbelievable silliness.

The meatiest of the roles goes to Sandra Bullock who carries it off well - getting a chance to show off her first language, German - as does Blanchett. These two as well as Hathaway and Helena you-know-who have considerably more than mere bit parts.
Direction by Gary Ross (the first 'Hunger Games' film) who also wrote this story and was co-screenplay writer, is okay with nothing especially memorable enough to make the film stand out in ones mind.
As for 'fun' in the execution of the heist, there was a bit of that, though not as much as, say, in the re-make of 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (1999) with Pierce Brosnan. Here I missed any significant build up of tension, the mechanics of the actual crime seeming more clockwork-y, which strained credulity with so little going wrong.

Incidentally, at the matinee screening I attended, out of an audience of perhaps fifty or so, I noticed only about half a dozen men. I wonder if this is indicative of there being a turn-off for those male audience members who demand to see a bit more testosterone on screen, If so, more fool them. On that level there was no lessening at all in the acting and depiction of the action scenes - though in this film there are, unusually, no chases at all.  

It's a passable film. As it allies itself to the Ocean's franchise, which may or may not have been a wise move, it's not really worse than any of those earlier three films. On the other hand, apart from the novelty of it having such a high quotient of female presences, it's definitely not better than any of them either....................5.5.

(IMDb............6.3 / Rotten Tomatoes...........6.2)



13 comments:

  1. The franchise of this movie I have always enjoyed, so I may go see this, since I'm a huge fan of Bonaham Carter and Care Blannchett.

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    1. You probably won't be disappointed, M.M. I only wish it had been a bit more......well, different or 'special'.

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  2. I'm going tomorrow so I will read your review then

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    1. Looking forward to seeing your take on it, JayGee.

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  3. I love all the actresses in this -- even you-know-who -- especially the fabulous Sarah Paulson!

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    1. I do especially like Cate B., Bob, who has proved herself to be a really formidable actress with chameleonic abilities, and she does no dishonour to this film. Anne Hathaway can always be relied on to deliver too, which she does.

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  4. Are you going to see 'Hereditary'? I would be very interested in your review...

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    1. I'm undecided, D. If I go it'll probably be tomorrow but it's one of those films which half of me wants to avoid in case it goes too deep and disturbs my sleep and more - while on the other hand, must admit that I AM curious. Decision tomorrow lunchtime.

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  5. You are so right about the lack of tension ,, cate and Helena could have had bigger roles .
    Hathaway and Corden was the best things in it !

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    1. We're not always so much in agreement. JayGee, but we're congruent on this one.

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  6. Ray,
    All actresses that I like and respect including the quirky Helena "You know who". Probably will skip this film though. Heist films are not my thing. Thanks for the review.
    Ron

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    1. I'd add Cate Blanchett to the best things about this one, Ron. She never seems to put a foot wrong and though in this hers is not as substantial a part as Bullock's, it helps to hold in holding it all together. But if the prospect of another robber film doesn't excite one there's little point in making the effort.

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