Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway
Director: Gary Ross
Running Time: 110 mins
Ocean’s 8 is an American film following Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny, who assembles a team of old friends and new partners to carry out a heist at the illustrious Met Gala in central New York City.
I feel like this film was a bit of a missed opportunity. With a great ensemble cast full of actresses that have proved themselves in all arenas, Ocean’s 8 had the chance to be a really charismatic and entertaining film through and through. Unfortunately, however, it’s a much more boring affair than that, with a very poor screenplay giving the onscreen talent little to do, and the film being tangled up in a real mess for the majority of its runtime.
There are quite a few things that make Ocean’s 8 a disappointment, and one of the biggest points for criticism has to be the ways it ties in with the original Ocean’s trilogy. Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, brother of George Clooney’s Danny Ocean, and although that relation is a rather neat and fun one to see this as a little bit of a spin-off, the rest of the references to the past films are both tenuous and forced throughout.
In my view, this film would have been far better off if it had just used the Ocean’s name to attract audiences, but ultimately try as much as possible to distance itself from the past films and create its own identity. Instead, the incessantly underwhelming links to the past films are a point of real frustration throughout, and distract the film from being its own enjoyable comedy, further taking you out of the moment on numerous occasions throughout.
The thing is that, while I wasn’t all that impressed by this film, there is still good potential for a movie that could work well. As I said, the leads are well-proven actresses in Hollywood, and although I can’t say any of them put in their best shifts here, they do have a certain charisma throughout (with Anne Hathaway a particular standout) that elevates the film away from being a totally boring mess.
What’s more is that the heist sequence – the part that the whole film is building up to – is actually really entertaining to watch. Even though it takes a really long while to get there, there is a good sense of satisfaction when we see the big heist get underway, and watching all of the plans come together in one dance, proving the film’s most coherent and as such most entertaining sequence by far.
And that for me is the biggest problem of Ocean’s 8. In general, it’s not as funny a film as it wants to be, and the performances could be better, but it’s the messy nature of the narrative for the first two acts (and the final scene) that make it at times almost unwatchable.
Apart from being rather predictable throughout, the sloppy way in which we see our characters’ plans coming together is fairly unsatisfying, with the gang getting through some major obstacles a little too easily, and the most complex and intricate elements to the plan being introduced and explained far too quickly and lightly to really emphasise their importance within the grand scheme.
Yes, this is in the end more of a comedy movie than a crime movie, but given how well the heist sequence works out, it’s clear that the rest of the film could have been far more of a success if it was a better-written and better-directed crime piece, something that would have also taken the pressure off being funny, which this film doesn’t manage to do well enough, and that’s why I’m giving Ocean’s 8 a 6.5 overall.