Film Review – Ocean’s 8 (2018)

Lots of talk has been devoted to the film already in completely the wrong way, similar to 2015’s Ghostbusters all-female reboot, but such discussions about the film’s existence are ridiculous and such people should be deprived of their oxygen immediately. The bottom line is whether the film is any good or not and it’s a great relief that while Ocean’s 8 does nothing that those films is proceeds have done before, it’s actually a pretty good ride. Yes, it’s almost a remake of Ocean’s Eleven but if such things are done with as much fun and chutzpah as this then who cares?

Sandra Bullock, reminding us that she hasn’t made a film for three years or so and boy have we missed her, is the titular Ocean in this one as the sister of the now deceased (we don’t buy it for one minute) Danny Ocean, played with such smooth charm in the previous three films by George Clooney. Starting in the similar fashion to Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 original/remake, we see Debbie Ocean about to released from her incarceration some five years, eight months and twelve days later.

During that time, like her brother, she has concocted her plans to steal some precious and rather expensive Cartier jewels from the year’s Met Gala, the most exclusive and glittering event in all of the USA. She needs a team, of course, and thus begins her search with partner-in-crime Lou (Blanchett) to assemble a group of ladies capable of pulling of such a daring heist – enter Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Bonham-Carter, Kaling and Hathaway, the latter the unsuspecting “insider” who will be wearing said jewels at the event.

It’s not without it’s problems, though, most of which lie with director/co-writer Gary Ross who while a very capable filmmaker, is no Steven Soderbergh and as such the film lacks a truly magic touch. There’s a safeness to his direction here that neither elevates the film in the same way with it nor takes it into a different direction, seemingly happy to regurgitate everything we have seen before.

That isn’t a bad thing as what came before was cool and calculated with a real pizzaz, with messers Peter Andrews (DOP) Stephen Mirrione (editing) and David Holmes (score) only pushing everything into the stratosphere on the first go around but even they had succumbed to diminishing returns by Ocean’s Twelve and you would have hoped Ross would have injected something new. But if it ain’t broke…

What sees the film over the line is its superb cast, almost all of whom are on fantastic form and having an utter ball in their surroundings, with Anne Hathaway and Sara Paulson in particular excelling (don’t they always?) throughout. There’s nothing new or unique about Ocean’s 8 in terms of a heist movie or indeed in the franchise itself, but there’s lots of fun to be had and who doesn’t love such things when watching the talkies?

Scott J.Davis | [rating=3]

Crime, Comedy | USA, 2018 | 12A | 18th June 2018 (UK) | Warner Bros. | Dir.Gary Ross | Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Paulson, Helena Boham Carter, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina