Ocean's 8 is a star-studded display of some of Hollywood's most prominent actors that lend themselves well to a familiar formula. However, the plot is completely void of conflict and drama, seemingly just grinding through the motions with all twists and turns leaving you underwhelmed.
What's it about?
Ocean's 8 is the all-female reboot of the 2001 reboot of the 1960 heist film. It centres around criminal mastermind Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) as she is released from prison and returns to her old ways. She reunites with her literal partner in crime Lou (Cate Blanchett) and they form a crack team to pull off the heist at the New York Met Gala. That team is made of Amita (Mindy Kaling) the jewellery expert, Constance (Awkwafina) the pickpocket, Nine-ball (Rihanna) the hacker, Tammy (Sarah Paulson) the 'fence', and finally, Rose (Helena Bonham Carter) the designer and most importantly, the way in. The film follows the team as they plan and attempt to pull off a $150 million score.
Strong first impressions
I'm not going to lie, I have never seen any of the previous Ocean's films, so I can't really make any comparisons to the past. This, however, does mean I come into this very fresh and don't have any particular bias towards or against the series. I felt that film started strong, Debbie appears to be a strong character that can charm her way through anything and charms the audience as well, Bullock does an excellent job and fits the role of the clever, vengeful lead very well. Her style is set very early on through a series of lies that grant her parole and a somewhat humorous and clever montage of stealing makeup, a new outfit and even a hotel room. Her partner also has a strong introduction as a no-nonsense, fierce businesswoman, selling watered down vodka. You get the real sense that they mean business right off the bat.
After Debbie reveals the plan she has been making for 5 years to Lou, they need to find a team to pull it off. This team is assembled fairly rapidly but slow enough for you to get a sense of each character's personality and motives. This whole first act flows well and assembles the team nicely as a bunch of interesting individuals. However, through the second act is where this starts to fall apart.
A stretch for the imagination
As we work our way through the prep for the heist, things seem at times too good to be true. Nothing would ever flow this smoothly in reality and every single hiccup seems to be washed away almost immediately. This complete lack of uncertainty follows through into the heist and you never feel like there is any risk, completely destroying any tension. You can argue that this is a testament to Debbie's plan, but is simply unrealistic as, as we all know, "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry". Furthermore, the technology and hacking just seem too far to be believable and come across as lazy writing in not building in any speed bumps.
I understand the setting of the New York Met Gala opens itself up very well to cameos. In Ocean's 8, the number of cameos is almost absurd and ends up distracting away from the story more than adds. To me, cameos never really had an effect on a movie and I would just feel indifferent about the little easter eggs. But not in this case. You would see so many familiar faces that you find yourself less immersed in the story and rather stargazing at the famous gala attendees. I will admit though, some may enjoy seeing their favourite stars show their face.
Underwhelming plot twists
I've already said that heist just lacked any trouble and just swept any twists under the carpet. What I haven't mentioned is the, admittedly unexpected, twists are lacking in weight and shock. They may catch you a little off-guard, but rather slap you in the face, they tickle your nose. You spend a lot of the movie weighting to be shocked but I found myself disappointed in any shocks that did come my way.
Overall, Ocean's 8 is not a bad film, it's just not a great film. At times it is a fun watch, but however, leads a fairly underwhelming and predictable plot that seems too convenient to believe.
My Score: 6/10
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