Ocean's 8 - This Movie More Or Less Heist Rocks
Dir: Gary Ross
Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rhianna, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kalling, Awkwafina, James Corden, Richard Armitage
Ocean’s 11? Great fun. Ocean’s 13? So wantonly daft, it managed to be great fun. Ocean’s 12? For some reason, nothing really worked on this one – not sure why, it’s not liked they messed with the formula.
With Ocean’s 8, they haven’t really messed with the formula either. Except that now everyone is a girl. And everything just feels so much simpler. No, this is not a nod to how much better women are at this kind of stuff, but an acknowledgement of a plot that is so straightforward in its conception and execution – as is the heist it depicts – that there are no surprises. Not a one.
The least surprising thing of course is how good the cast is, Bullock especially. Of the 8 she is the one who comes closest to having an actual character – even if a lot of that is drawn by allusions to her supposedly late brother Clooney. Bullock’s Debbie Ocean also has backstory – she’s been in jail, spending five-plus years mapping out her master plan – a jewellery robbery of spectacular fashion at the spectacularly fashionable Met Ball. The other ladies – despite strong work from Bonham Carter (with mysterious Irish accent) and the always great Paulson – are rarely afforded the opportunity to be little more than a cypher on the call sheet, all one dimensional to a woman, the kind you wouldn’t notice if they didn’t have shared star billing. Of all of them, Hathaway is perhaps the most thrown away.
Anyway, they plan a heist. They pull off the heist. And…that’s pretty much it. It’s a simple, not terribly interesting plan that they execute in a simple, not terribly interesting manner. And along the way…well nothing much happens, It all goes swimmingly. Those twisty, turny bits we like to see in such movies as this are never really present. The supposed “twists” that are dropped late in the day are either obvious or, meh, nothing much. And somewhere along the line, James Corden shows up proving that, despite the best intentions, he now comes across as a talk show host doing a movie cameo, rather than that fine actor he has often been in the past.
There’s nothing wrong with Ocean’s 8 as such. It’s perfectly pleasant and perfectly perfunctory. It's just never any more than that.