Ocean’s Eight – A Caper Comedy Sure to Make You Laugh
Ocean’s Eight (2018) – A Caper Comedy Sure to Make You Laugh
Sometimes sequel films work, and other times they don’t. Sometimes they entertain, and sometimes they fail to connect with the audience. Whether or not the star-studded Ocean’s Eight is the former or the latter remains to be seen. Either way, we take a look at the story and my thoughts in this review.
Tess Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is about to be paroled following a con gone wrong during which she fell for the wrong guy. With prison in her rear-view she’s ready to pretend to be a con artist gone good when in reality her biggest score is in the works. But first she must assemble a team.
First to arrive is her former “right hand,” Lou (Cate Blanchett), the one woman Tess trusts inexplicably. With Lou back in the fold, Tess tracks down the best fence (gone suburban housewife), Tammy (Sarah Paulson) she’s worked with. Once this is done, she sets out to find the rest of her crew. With the team in place, all that’s left to do is begin the con…
In case you aren’t familiar with them, or you aren’t a fan of caper films, Ocean’s Eight is a kind of “sequel” (in a loose sense) to the George Clooney trilogy that begins with Ocean’s Eleven. Of course, like ‘Eight,’ those films also feature star-studded casts, sleek cons and witty dialogue. Beyond this, this female-led version breaks away from the classic vibes that is the typical ‘Ocean’ caper story. WARNING: some vague spoilers follow. Skip to the final paragraph if you don’t want spoilers!
There’s something about the caper film genre that’s a kind of undefined entertainment, and even, sophisticated. Over the years, I’ve discovered some of my favorite “feel-good” films in this genre. These include The Italian Job and of course, this franchise. While this latest addition is different from the styling of the originals, it still entertains. Its greatest departure is in the plan-without-a-hitch “twist.” This script gives the appearance of a plan that’s a carefully put together con which I suspect is an underlying message that involves the gender of the characters. But then, that’s a write up for another day.
This element doesn’t really detract from the story, but because there isn’t a kind of what-just-happened-moment? the plot doesn’t have the layers of its genre peers. Nonetheless this doesn’t mean Ocean’s Eight isn’t still a film to entertain. Quite the opposite. As is the Ocean family roll, the plot operates at a slower pace, but still holds our attention as we try and pay careful attention to details – and all those moving pieces. It’s the kind of film you can sit back and enjoy, but also be challenged to solve a puzzle. Because as any good caper film does, this one makes its viewer wonder how each piece works together.
Though Blanchett and Bullock are star-power enough, this piece also recruits Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, and Anne Hathaway (in what seems like her first major role in a while). All of whom turn in wonderful performances. Oh, and period drama aficionados will recognize a certain actor better known as Mr. Thornton. Imperfect, yes, but for those of us looking for a “good time” movie, Ocean’s Eight fits the ticket nicely. It’s sleek and stylish, and explores the “underground” world of characters trying to remain under the radar, and the high-class world of wealth and sophistication. This means we see some beautiful fashion, and have a fun little adventure at the same time.
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(Content: there is some profanity [including 1-2 F-words], and innuendo. The film is PG13.)