Director: Gary Ross
Screenplay: Gary Ross and Olivia Milch
Producer: Stephen Sodenberg
Some film introduce you to characters that stay with you hours afterwards or are so profound you only find more genius in it with every viewing. Ocean’s 8 does neither but it knows what it is and that’s pure unaldurated, a fun, breezy comedic break from the heavy cloud of a chaotic political climate, and viewed at the movie theater, escape from the blistering sun. Ocean’s 8 is the playful younger, street kid to it’s heavier three big brothers. In the theatre someone joked that it was called Ocean’s 8 because they couldn’t find 14 actresses as this not a pre-quel ,but takes place after Ocean’s 13.
The director Gary Ross says the title was suggested by the Ocean’s trilogy’s director Stephen Sonderberg who said, ‘We could make an Ocean’s 8, 9, 10 before people get sick of it.”
The movie starts with Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), Danny Ocean’s (George Clooney)sister giving an obviously reheresed speech, including a moment where she gets all choked up in order to sway a parole board. After she is realeased she wastes little before meeting her partner in crime, Lou (Cate Blanchatt) and together putting together a crew to intliarate the Met Gala and heist The Toussant, a heavy chunky-diamond necklace that has been in the vault of the Met for years.
The tension between them suggests more than a friendship but they don’t ever go there. Together they put together a team including Amita (Mindy Kaling), the one who actually pulls apart the necklace and replace the diamonds with cubic zirconia, Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter ) a washed up fashion designer whose purpose is to fangle her way into dressing the houst of the gala Daphna Kluger (played an actress annoyingly well and is the scene stealer out of this crew),) Nine Ball (Rihanna) a hacker, a street pick-pocket (Awkwafina) and the sly jack-of-all-trades who joins the crew to escape her life as a housewife, Tammy (Sarah Paulson).
The feminist agenda is dealt subtly and isn’t heavy-handed. Even having only women on their crew is distinctly pragmatic, as Debbie explains in the film how women are invisible in our society and so the culprits will be easier to be in plain sight as they pull off the heist. The film misses out on giving these women more devolpment because the Ocean franchises love their eye candy, with their Ocean’s jazzy montages and sharp cuts. The movie with an all women cast in which there are no parts for boyfriends or husbands is refereshing. These women are the stars of the film. A nod to the replacement of an all male cast with a female one is when they need to distract security, Emmanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” which features a group of men in a boat which they turn into women They also don’t take the tacky trait of female driven films and pit them against each other instead these women are secure enough in their badass roles they play together well. The whole reason this film works is because it focuses on the heist with characters who happen to all be women. In probably the best pep talk I’ve heard in a film is when Debbie says to the crew, “Remember you aren’t doing this for yourselves. Or for each other. Somewhere out there is a 9 year girl and who wants to be a criminal when she grows up. Let’s do this for her
This movie is like a bon-bon, airy yet delicious and serves it’s purpose as pure entertainment. The other thing is that they don’t get away seamlessness but are found out by the actress who dons the necklace they do the switch-a-roo to from a diamond necklace to a cirbacumion knock-off. There’s also the obvious bringing Clooney back from the dead to set up the next Ocean’s. when asked by amember of the crew is ur brother really dead Bullock replies deadpan, “I don’t know.” This inclusion of Clooney is jarring and feels like a product placement tempting the audience that there will be another ocean’s film that will probably start out on a beach with the supposedly dead Clooney.
Despite these faults what is both refreshing yet denies the movie of a true risk of getting caught is that the Debbie and her g/f are a step ahead at every turn. When the actress, Daphna Kluger, starts showing signs of knowing more than she should they invite her in. When asked why she wants to be part of the heist she says, “I don’t have many female friends.”
Instead of some big police car chase or Jason Bourne type action sequences we get a jet lagged insurance salesmen (James Corden) anxious to get back more home than a heist he finds mildly interesting. “I could find the diamonds in a taxi,” he says to Debbie. She counters with 10 percent of the necklace. He agrees. A piece of the necklace is placed in Debbie’s ex-lover who is the reason she ended up in prison. So she gets her revenge and the insurance man gets to go back to England.
The last montage is the one where it shows how each of them spends the money. Amita (Kaling), is in Paris on a romantic date, Lou is riding a motorcycle, the pickpocket is shown on her skateboard, as she exclaims, “I’m on the co-op board, yo!” Nine Baller opens her own bar. Rose Weil (Bonhem-Carter) opens a brand new store. They don’t show Debbie new digs but instead she visits her brother’s grave, drinks a martini.
At the end of the day, this was a fun movie but there were things like using hacking and technology as a short cut instead of using their wits that seemed lazy. But it’s worth the price of admission. The thing that was encouraging to me when the lights came up and I looked round the theater there were as many men as women. This kid probably 18 or so turned to his girl and said, “That was awesome.” That’s how true change is accomplished by creating works that appeal to people and not push an agenda. The thing itself is the agenda and if the thing is good: people’s minds will be rid of the streotypes they carry with them little by litte.