REVIEW: “Ocean’s 8”


Jonathan Montague, Staff Writer

Heist films are definitely rare nowadays. Seeing the world’s best criminals plan out and pull off an impossible heist only to smile from ear to ear when you see how they did it through some withheld detail. Under the direction of Steven Soderbergh, the Ocean’s franchise starring Hollywood giants such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are widely considered some of the best in the genre. Now, we see the ladies throw their hat in the ring with Ocean’s 8. Did it steal people’s hearts?

The film opens on Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean from the first three films, being released from a five-year prison sentence. Seeing as crime runs in her blood, she begins the preparations for one of the biggest heists in history: robbing the Met Gala of $150 million in jewels and maybe a little payback as well. To do that, she’ll need some help of seven talented female thieves and cons.

If I may start with the cast and their performances, there is some definite chemistry between them all. They mesh together well, even if not as well as the boys do.  Most of that can be chalked up to some of them simply playing to their archetypes as opposed to playing new characters. Sandra Bullock is just as suave and smooth as her older brother, and Cate Blanchett is nice as her partner in crime. Awkwafina hams it up as Constance to mostly positive results as does Helena Bonham Carter, who is delightfully toned down slightly from some of her other roles. My favorite has to be Anne Hathaway who I feel is playing a satire of the image many of her avid haters believe her to be like.

The plot seems a little derivative of the first, from the value of the prize to the amount of time the siblings were sentenced to (only Danny got out early). Still, someone fresh into the franchise won’t notice and it doesn’t take long to get swept into the fun. The style of Gary Ross doesn’t quite measure up to Soderbergh, who comes back to produce, but there is a certain vision there. The swell cinematography and catchy score make that clear.

The story fails to have the same impact as the Eleven does despite having a more compelling reason for the heist on paper. You do root for Debbie and want to see her get her payback, but the villain isn’t nearly as good as Terry Benedict. Terry was a villain that you wanted to see get his comeuppance because you saw the kind of man he was throughout the film. You barely get to see this person outside of Debbie’s perspective which does weaken the emotion.

All in all, I liked Ocean’s 8 and had a fun time, but it’s not something I’d see more than a couple times. Everything feels like it could have been great and the actual heist is a ton of fun, but overall it was just “good”. Who knows what they could do with a sequel, though?