On Friday night, my friend and I saw this all-female production at the Burwood cinemas. Another friend told me about Ocean’s, but the trailer did not impress me. I forgot about it for a few weeks, until recently, when I just had to see it. I’ve been blogging lots, so running out of ideas is expected. Big names like Bullock, Blanchett, and Hathaway headline the cast. This is the fourth Ocean movie, after the successful trilogy starring Clooney, Pitt, and Damon.
Assembling the gang
In this sequel, Bullock (Clooney’s on-screen sister) is released after five years in prison. She is warned not to go back to her old ways, but this is exactly what she does upon returning. She reunites with her old partner, Cate Blanchett, and assembles the gang. Her eyes are set on the $150 million dollar Cartier necklace stored underground in New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Actor Daphne Kluger (Hathaway) would wear said necklace at the Met Gala, the glitziest, most prestigious dinner of all. Her attempts to construct her crew dominate the first half. All hands had their role to play, but 9 Ball (Rihanna) is particularly notable, since her hacking skills are paramount to the task.
The lure of a share of the millions stolen draws them. To champion equality, Debbie Ocean offers an equal share of the prize for everyone. Another drawcard: would you want to be in on the heist of the century? Along the way there are doubts, minor setbacks, and the desire for revenge. There are lots of laughs, the girls loved it. One scene involved Daphne’s Designer, Rose Weil, having a minutes-long look at the necklace. She needed this to capture the look on her high-tech glasses. There are also some French and Chinese dialogues thrown in to add some spice. I don’t usually go for chick flicks but I don’t mind them every once in a while. Aside from promoting gender equality, the film also features its share of minorities.
There are clear similarities to the prior films in the franchise. Obviously the big crew, the easy pace, the heist theme, and yes, the flashbacks near the end to anatomise the job. Who’s in and who’s not, are some things settled in the end. When I asked my friend after the movie, he told me that ‘It was okay.’ He particularly liked the cruisy story. ‘Some movies are hard to watch, but that was smooth.’ It is winter, cold and rainy, so having a nice, breezy watch was a welcome sight. The last one we saw, Avengers, was much more demanding with repeated back-and-forths across multiple storylines.
Passing the torch
There are a couple of scenes where Bullock visits her brother’s tomb. I can’t help but think of the passing of the torch. At one end, there’s the trio of films that was machismo at its finest. The top-flight thespians gathered while at the height of their fame. They also had a heavyweight director who made a career out of crime thrillers. This time, it’s their female counterparts who steal the show. Whether at the start or the end, she speaks to her brother as if he were there. With a larger turnout than anticipated, Friday’s session showed that this kind of setup would work. With gay rights and #timesup leading the charge, an all-female ensemble is swell, just as guys watching a chick flick is fair enough.
Since this instalment has its eyes on number one at the box office this weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised if they pull this off. With a stellar cast, a robust and easy story, and lots of fun, this one definitely exceeds expectations.
***(out of 4)