Just released from prison, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is about to execute the greatest heist of her career. She knows what it's going to take: a team of the best in their field, starting with her former partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett). The target is $150 million in diamonds, to be worn by actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who will be centre stage at the glamour event of the year, The Met Gala.
Review by Louise Keller:
The delectable cast of the Ocean's franchise headed by George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts is missed, but there's a lovely vibe about this all-girl spin-off produced by Steven Soderbergh, in which glamour, priceless jewels, scams and surprises are the name of the game. Director Gary Ross is no slouch when it comes to writing a good screenplay (he wrote and directed Pleasantville and Hunger Games), and here, he stays faithful to the recipe, concocting a slick scenario punctuated by ingenuity and sleight of hand. Add Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson and the wonderfully eccentric Helena Bonham Carter before diving into an ocean of fun: lightweight but likeable; frivolous but fun; silly but scrumptious.
There is never any doubt from the outset as to the success of the heist; the accent is on how and why. The film begins with irony - and Bullock in bright orange gaol garb as Debbie Ocean, spinning her parole plea how, if released, she will opt for The Simple Life. There is nothing simple about anything that follows - from the ideas, the cons and the high life, along with its stunning couture, sparkling gems, fabulous locations, millions of dollars and beautiful people. Strengths and weaknesses are used, along with blind spots, egos and flattery as a priceless necklace from Cartier's vault is targeted at the glamour event of the year at the New York Met. Champagne, Anna Wintour and Roger Federer are discreetly mentioned. The rest is not so discreet. Nor is the plot hole.
There's plenty of eye candy, knowing looks and double guessing, as our eyes dart everywhere trying to keep abreast of how everyone and everything fits together. Imagine this lot relying on each other: a hacker, pickpocket, jewel specialist, dress designer, security expert, acrobat, dietician, celebrity and revenge-seeking crim, for whom 'knowing the job will work' is not enough.
Watch for Bonham Carter on the red carpet: she looks like a flower garden, complete with cat-eye sunglasses adorned with roses. Bullock, Blanchett and Hathaway provide heavy-duty glamour; the latter is exceptionally good as the high profile actress whose ample bosom is recruited to provide the backdrop for the Cartier diamonds. As to be expected, the girls are portrayed as smart and sassy, while the men around them are pretty dense. Top of the list is Richard Armitage as Hathaway's unsuspecting date and James Corden is terrific as 'the Colombo dude', the insurance investigator who ties up the loose ends.
Fast paced with a spiffy music soundtrack and barely a moment to think, Ross glues everything together with a light touch. It may not have that extra grit of the original films, but the formula and attractive ingredients work and the result is enjoyable escapist entertainment.
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OCEAN'S 8 (TBA)
CAST: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Dakota Fanning, James Corden, Richard Armitage.
PRODUCER: Steven Soderbergh
DIRECTOR: Gary Ross
SCRIPT: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Eigil Bruid
EDITOR: Juliette Welfling
MUSIC: Daniel Pemberton
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Alex DiGerlando
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 7, 2018