Wednesday, June 13, 2018

68 Days: Movie Review - Ocean's 8

I'm not sure whether I'm fending off a virus, or whether it was the movie, but I found Ocean's 8 a lacklustre affair. Okay, I'd had a full on day, interviewing, gym, rushing around like a lunatic, when I got to the cinema for the 9 pm showing I was pretty wrecked. Making matters worse, the seats at the cinema recline right back, so you're all comfy and horizontal.

Okay, what I'm saying is I fell asleep in parts. Just enough to know I'd been asleep, but not enough to miss big chunks of the film - or so I'm told. My friend says I wasn't snoring.

This is not to say it's a bad film. Not at all, but of the Oceans films, it's a slightly different beast. I love a good caper movie and Steven Soderberg was the master of this. Under Gary Ross' direction, this came out just a touch stagnant. But it's not all bad. I think of this is what happens when an caper film is mixed with Sex and the City.

Rotten Tomatoes provides the following plot: Upon her release from prison, Debbie, the estranged sister of legendary conman Danny Ocean, puts together a team of unstoppable crooks to pull of the heist of the century. Their goal is New York City's annual Met Gala, and a necklace worth in excess of 150 million dollars.

And that is about it. What's different? Well the team are all women. In these #MeToo times, it's a great thing to see, even if there is some stereotyping of the characters. Sandra Bullock is great at playing hardened and plucky. Cate Blanchett has always had a bit of a penchant for skin tight black leather. Helena Bonham Carter is perfect as the loopy designer. Sarah Paulson is also good as the downtrodden housewife with a secret. Anne Hathaway does her doe-eyed best as the foil and patsy of the caper . Throw in Mindy Kaling, Rhianna and Awkwafina for some cultural variety and you have the inclusion and diversity ratios sorted. I was quite taken with Mindy Kaling's "Under the Mum" daughter in the Indian family business (Stereoyped, much?).

Ocean's 8 is good-looking and fun, but that's about it. It's slick and schmick, although some of the cliches and stereoptypes are a bit wearing.

It is also gorgeous to look at - with the costumes and sets far more varied than your normal Oceans caper movie.

You can look at Ocean's 8 in two ways. You can view it as a caper movie with woman, happily filling in the roles that George Clooney (Sandra Bullock is a great ringmaster), Brad Pitt (Cate Blanchett plays the shady one of the group) and Matt Damon (Sarah Paulson is the dodgy dealer in stolen goods). Add in a spurned love interest and you have it all.

If you're of a more generous nature you can look at the movie as a post #MeToo powerfest, with women showing that we can do it all for ourselves. The thing is, women have known this for centuries. We are tough, resiliant, funny and able. It's just taken the the movie industry over a century to realise this.

Ocean's 8 is good looking, lightweight fluff. You don't need much of a brain to understand it. There are some plot holes which wouldn't be out of place on a country road and it is a little typecast, but it has a night heart and it's definitely watchable.

Just don't get a late screening after a day of job interviews in a cinema with very comfortable seats. Although watchable, it's not engrossing.

Three and a Half Stars.

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