Film Review: Ocean's 11
An ocean of style or substance?
Oceans Eleven has a hell of a lot going for it: a big name director fresh from Oscars success, A-list stars (and lots of ?em), a top soundtrack from Belfast's very own superstar DJ, David Holmes and a rather trendy tie-in with Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies. The original Ocean's Eleven was shot in the 60s by the Rat Pack but it is generally regarded as a pretty lousy and self indulgent vehicle for Ol' Blue Eyes and his groupies. Despite this, director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich) and George Clooney took the bare bones of the original and went back to Las Vegas to film one of the most eagerly awaited movies of recent years. Does it live up to all the hype? Yes and no is the answer. Yes, Oceans Eleven looks good, feels good and sounds good but there is a lot more style than substance to the movie.
The plot itself is pretty straightforward. Danny Ocean, a professional thief and conman (played with understated cool and charm by Clooney) is released on parole with ambitious plans to steal more than $150m from three Las Vegas casinos owned by Terry Benedict (a return to form for the underrated Andy Garcia) who also happens to be dating Ocean's ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts). To pull off the audacious heist Ocean enlists the help of eleven specialists led by Rusty Ryan, an old accomplice of Oceans? reduced to teaching film stars the intricacies of poker. Rusty (Brad Pitt) and Ocean are joined by the usual suspects in such a venture, an acrobat, munitions expert, conman, pickpocket, computer whiz? you get the picture. The movie takes us through the selection of the eleven, the planning and finally the execution of the heist. While there is little in the way of originality here it is a very worthy and stylish addition to the genre.
Clooney and Pitt are not really stretched by their roles. They essentially play themselves, ultra cool, super confident slicksters. They do gel well together and manage more chemistry than Pitt and Roberts did in the woeful The Mexican released last year. Incidentally. Robert's part is so badly written, so condescending and of so little relevance to the whole film you wonder why she bothered. The supporting cast is excellent but the stars of the show are undoubtedly Clooney and Pitt.
For some the cheesy grinned George and Brad show could come across as just too smug and too smart for its own good. I don't think they will give a ****. This movie has a definite feel good appeal and it is obvious that those involved got a real kick out of making the film and their only ambition for it was to entertain the masses. If you don't want to be challenged too much and are looking for pure unashamed entertainment, Oceans Eleven delivers big time.
Click here for a less positive assessment of Ocean's Eleven