“Ocean’s 8” stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter. Released on June 8, 2018, the film is about a group of women who plan on pulling off the ultimate heist at the Met Gala.
The film is directed by Gary Ross, who also directed “Pleasantville”, “Seabiscuit”, “The Hunger Games”, and “Free State of Jones”. It is a spin-off from the “Ocean’s” trilogy. 17 years ago, director Steven Soderbergh took the opportunity to remake the 1960s heist film, “Ocean’s 11”, which involved a group of people robbing a bunch of Las Vegas casinos. The success of the remake, which starred George Clooney and Matt Damon, lead to two more sequels, “Ocean’s Twelve” in 2004 and “Ocean’s Thirteen” in 2007. So now, we are getting a continuation of the franchise in the form of an all-female spin-off that hopes to not get as controversial as the female Ghostbusters film. While I’m familiar with some of the works from Ross and Soderbergh, I have not seen any of the “Ocean’s” films that came out before “Ocean’s 8”, so I will be reviewing it as its own film. The reason why I saved this for last is because my mother wanted to see it with me. She’s always in a mood for a film that has Bullock in it.
Taking place after the events of the “Ocean’s” films, the story focuses on Danny Ocean’s younger sister, Debbie Ocean (Bullock), who spent her days in prison coming up with the biggest heist in the world: stealing a $150 million necklace at the Met Gala. In order to accomplish this impossible plan, Debbie, along with her partner in crime Lou (Blanchett), sets up her own “Ocean’s” crew, which consists of a jewelry maker (Kaling), a profiteer (Paulson), a street hustler (Awkwafina), a computer hacker (Rihanna), and a fashion designer (Bonham Carter). This is the type of heist film that relies on making the audience use their heads by using dialogue and flashbacks. It’s like having healthy food that increases your brain power, as opposed to the heist films that involve violence and explosions representing the junk food that's not good for the brain. I’m OK with either type of heist film as long as they provide some really interesting scenarios that kept me engaged from beginning to end. This film was able to accomplish that type of task despite the fact that it added nothing new to the genre, so if you’re going into it expecting some kind of originality in its slick narrative, you’re going to get robbed very easily. The female cast didn’t have a lot of stand-out moments that made me want to see more of them in possible sequels, but they offered some likable performances without attempting to upstage one another, most notably Bullock as Debbie, Blanchett as Lou, Rihanna as Nine Ball, and Awkwafina as Constance. The film knows that each of these characters play a specific role in terms of their talents, and it wasted no time in giving them enough screen time to do their own thing, which is one of the interesting scenarios that I liked while watching these types of films. When you have an all-female cast that provides a good amount of chemistry and has fun making the film with each other, that’s how you know that you made a suitable and entertaining girls-night-out movie. The first act did take a while to find its footing due to its flat humor and a couple of dragged-out scenes, but once these characters head to the Gala, it quickly turns into a pretty fun event that’s worth the wait. The slick and stylish narrative was impressive enough to maintain its respectable pacing and match its amusing and fashionable concept. I would also give credit to Daniel Pemberton’s musical score for delivering the upbeat feeling to the film’s light-hearted plot. It’s the type of upbeat feeling that makes me want to say, “Let’s go rob an expensive necklace and look cool while doing it”.
Overall, “Ocean’s Eight” doesn’t change the way we look at the heist genre in terms of the story, but it does provide plenty of entertaining moments to make this heist a decent success. This is a pretty simplistic all-female comedy that relies on the cast and its slick and stylish narrative to deliver an amusing, yet imperfect, piece of entertainment. I guess you can say that it’s likable enough for me to check out the other “Ocean’s” films in the future to see how they differ from the spin-off. If you’re familiar with the film series in general or if you’re just looking for a girls-night-out film, I would say that this is worth the price of admission.