Ocean’s 8 delivers a fun, serviceable caper that reminds us why we all love a good heist film.
Ocean’s 8 begins the same way Ocean’s 11 did, with an Ocean being paroled. This time we meet up with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), estranged sister to Danny, after she’s served 5 years in prison. It’s not long until she’s back with her old con-friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) and putting together a new crew for the heist of the century: Stealing a Cartier necklace worth 150 million dollars at New York City’s most exclusive party, the Met Gala.
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The film does a wonderful job mirroring the first Ocean’s in both story and editing. At moments it feels more like a remake than a sequel. The unique transitions keep the story flowing at a steady pace, never lingering in a scene. This often used technique, established in the first film, has continued on through all four iterations of the series.
From very early on we learn what the heist is, why Ocean is orchestrating it, and how it’s going to go down. The scenes introducing each member and what they can bring to the job never seem to get old.
The cast is definitely a strong point in Ocean’s 8. There’s always something positive to be said when a film creates a dynamic between characters that makes you want to be a part of the crew. All eight women deliver compelling, comedic performances albeit some stronger than others.
The actors known less for their acting chops (Rhianna and Awkwafina) are used just enough that their lack of screen experience isn’t noticeable. Seasoned vets like Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling shine through playing roles similar to ones we’ve seen them in before.
The script doesn’t dive too far into their backstories, but it gives us enough from each character to understand what they’re about.
Anne Hathaway manages to stand out for her over-the-top portrayal of Hollywood royalty. While she isn’t necessarily playing herself, like Julia Roberts did in Ocean’s Twelve, there’s definitely some tongue-in-cheek humour on display. It’s always refreshing to see some of cinema’s biggest stars being able to poke fun at themselves.
While talented performances and constant pace are the films strongest attributes, Ocean’s 8 isn’t without problems.
The film lacks a convincing conflict. Like all of the previous installments, there never seems to be much doubt that the cons can pull off the robbery. However, unlike the original trilogy and characters like Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), François Toulour (Vincent Cassel), and Willy Bank (Al Pacino), the newest film lacks any sort of main villain the mainstay of any heist film. The closest we get is a pathetic ex-boyfriend and bumbling insurance investigator. Without that strong antagonist to challenge the crew, the film falls a bit flat.
It’s safe to say that if you enjoyed the original trilogy, knowing you didn’t have to think too hard and could enjoy a couple laughs, then Ocean’s 8 shouldn’t disappoint.
This long con gets a 3 out of 5.
Opening this weekend in theatres everywhere. Rated PG-13 (language, drug use, and some suggestive content). 110-minutes long.