Directed by: Gary Ross
Runtime: 110 mins
So I’ll just start straight off the bat by saying I am not a die-hard Ocean’s franchise fan. I loved the first one, remember the second one, and I feel like there was a third one that was interesting. I enjoy the classic heist film genre, with films like Inside Man being one of my favourites. So going into this film, I was only worried about one thing: Please don’t be another Ghostbusters (2018).
Unfortunately, female reboots have become a “thing” with the notion that previous representations of women in films have been horrible and the industry now has to right this wrong. I totally get it. Believe me. After watching Ocean’s Eleven again, I did start to realise how Julia Robert’s character (see, I don’t even remember her name!) was nothing but a prize to be won and a woman to heed orders from a man. But I was worried that Ocean’s 8 would become more of a statement than what it needed to be. After all, when seeing the first Ocean’s film, I wasn’t going to be mystified and enthralled by the intricate plot. I was going to see some hot dudes steal some stuff.
For me, Ocean’s 8 definitely lived up to my expectations. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and it gave me exactly what I expect from an Ocean’s film: An amusing heist with a few twists and clever ploys.
Cate Blanchett was by far my favourite as her character, Lou, had this excellent persona and every time she was on screen I couldn’t help but admire her suave nature. Sandra Bullock delivered as always and her character Debbie Ocean (Danny Ocean’s sister) lived up to the Ocean name and nature as she orchestrated the heist. Mindy Kaling (personally not a fan) portrayed a good character and I enjoyed that Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t as much of a Jonny-Depp-loving-crazy-psycho-chick as she is every film I’ve ever seen her in. Her character was still a little bizarre, but it was actually fairly enjoyable and didn’t distract me from the plot. Rihanna was also a lovely surprise with her character Nine Ball, who was a little unique, but also loveable. I did have faith in Rihanna though, as I was one of the few who enjoyed her performance in Battleship back in 2012 (don’t judge me). The only portrayal I didn’t really get behind was Anne Hathaway’s character, but her character arc throughout the film does provide an interesting moment in the conclusion. James Corden was also a peculiar choice as his comedy sometimes didn’t quite fit the tone of the rest of the film. I felt very aware that I was watching Jame Corden and that’s not always what you want in a minor character.
There were a few nice cameos in the film that will keep the die-hard Ocean fans interested, but not enough to ruin any major moments if you haven’t religiously watched them all. It was refreshing that the plot takes place in the same universe as the original crew, giving a nice hat tip to the originals, while also laying to rest (you’ll get that pun when you see the film *wink*) the old and bringing in the new. There were also a few cameos from famous people playing themselves which was amusing and appropriate considering the heist takes place at the Met Gala.
There were a few moments in the film that I do have scruples about. This could be considered a spoiler, so beware. The use of an ex-boyfriend as a motivator for Debbie Ocean was somewhat frustrating and didn’t really seem to fit the message they were possibly trying to send. In one scene, Debbie states that “somewhere, out there, there is a girl who is dreaming of becoming a criminal. This is for her”. While this line did get a laugh from me, the fact that our main character was still driven by revenge, and revenge over a man no less, seemed to diminish the power of these characters. In one scene Bullock’s character also dismisses having a man join their crew because he’ll be ‘noticed’ and she wants everyone to go unnoticed. As a viewer, I wasn’t sure if I was over thinking it or just misunderstanding what they were going for, but there were a few beats in the plot where it was unclear if it was pro-women or just anti-men.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed all of the other Ocean franchise films. With the classic heist motifs, excellent actresses playing interesting characters and a few unseen twists, this film was one to enjoy and make the most of. With all the talk about female reboots, this film isn’t a reboot and doesn’t fall into that trap. It creatively makes its own waves and creates an enjoyable viewing experience.