Armed with more star-wattage and box-office success than most summer blockbusters could ever dream of, Ocean’s 8 expands the world of lovable criminality we saw in the previous Ocean’s films without missing a beat, introducing an entirely new cast of rogues worth cheering for. Those wanting a little more intelligence with their action at the movies this summer should consider joining the ladies in this entertaining, female-centric spectacle with the perfect stars doing all the right things for all the wrong reasons.
The film opens on Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of the late Danny Ocean, at her parole hearing where she gives a convincing performance that gets here released from prison where she’s been the last five years. Not long after, she meets up with friend Lou (Cate Blanchett, Thor: Ragnarok), and it’s not long before the two begin organizing a $150 million-dollar heist at the New York Met annual gala being hosted by Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway, The Devil Wears Prada). Giving this particular heist an extra boost, however, is the one thing the original trilogy lacked: girl power.
As their plan begins to take shape the ladies bring in Amita (Mindy Kailing, A Wrinkle In Time), Nine Ball (Rihanna, Valerian), Tammy (Sarah Paulson, The Post) and Constance (Awkwafina, Future Man) to help them with the technology and skill needed to break into the Met’s computer system and create the blind spots for the camera angles they need in order to pull off this priceless heist. There’s also vomiting involved, but you’ll have to watch the movie to see who spills their guts – literally.
All the lead actresses did a spectacular job and some might argue that the characters they played were somewhat beneath their level of craft and expertise. The entire movie felt like a ritzy getaway from the mundane world outside the dark theater, with the possible exception of Anne Hathaway’s, ahem, unique look the night of the gala. Despite the six-pound diamond Cartier necklace the crew intends on stealing around her neck, she wears a dress that looks like an oversized nightie and a funky hairdo that makes her look like she just got out of bed. Perhaps the scenes were shot in the wrong order and no one bothered to notice her bed-head look. Hey, don’t blame the messenger.
Director and co-screenwriter Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit), who shares screenwriting credit with Olivia Milch (Dude), stay true to previous Oceans films’ sense of fun and friendship, alternating between onscreen chemistry between megastars and making the audience feel like we’re along for the ride. Eigil Bryld’s cinematography helps make this possible, truly giving a sense of the magnitude and luxuriousness of the New York Met and what might actually go into making such an impossible heist a reality.
As with any good heist film the real fun comes from watching the plan unfold as the key bits unfold in sequence. With that said, I’ll keep mum on some of the biggest surprises, though a few key flashbacks are vital to keeping things interesting just when you thought the premise had been exhausted. Keep your eyes peeled for another cool little twist that will have everyone rooting for the ladies long after the credits roll.
Ocean’s 8 is the perfect antidote to superheroes and space sagas this summer, and it’s sure to keep you on the edge of your seat and laughing the whole way through. Adding some much-needed girl power to a franchise that had, frankly, lost its mojo was a smart move. Because of this, Ocean’s 8 avoids the silly controversies surrounding so many other ‘gender-swapped’ reboots and remakes. Whether you’ve seen the previous Ocean’s films or this is your first venture into the world of charismatic criminals, a good time is sure to be had by all.