Ocean’s 8 – Review

Let’s face it.  Ensemble movies are popular.  What’s better than seeing your favorite star in their latest film?  How about seeing multiple of your favorite stars all together in a single film?  This was always the premise of the Ocean’s films, the first of which was originally released in 2001.   Oceans 8 is directed by Gary Ross (Steven Soderbergh, who directed the original 3 Ocean’s movies, has a producer credit).  Sandra Bullock takes point but is joined by Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter in this latest entry in the Ocean’s franchise.

In a lot of ways this movie seems destined to be made.  The original films were all male heavy, and this is a genre which seems perfect to have a largely female ensemble cast.  Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, the sister of the late Danny Ocean (George Clooney in the prior films).  After getting out of prison, she assembles a crew of skilled professionals to pull of the ultimate heist, a Cartier diamond necklace worth $150 million dollars.

While there are some fun moments, it never really lives up the prior Ocean’s films.  The ensemble cast does as good as they can with the lackluster script.  As it turns out, Sandra Bullock spent her whole time in prison planning how to pull of the heist, and she has actually thought of pretty much everything.  She goes around recruiting help for tasks she seems to know everything about and which her recruits seem to instantly know how to solve whatever problem needs to be solved.   Even when the solitary unexpected issue arises, a quick phone call leads to the near instantaneous solution.

As such, there’s never really a crescendo, or even a climax for that matter.  They somehow easily pull off the heist without any issues and then they all pat themselves on the back for how well it all went.  Nothing is egregiously bad, but in the end it turns out to be a bit of a shame just due to the squandered potential.

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