July issue 2018
Movie Review: Ocean’s Eight
“What is sauce for the gander, is sauce for the goose” is at the heart of the latest Ocean’s 8. In the new spin-off, the suave, sophisticated conmen of the Ocean’s films trilogy have been replaced by a crew of glamorous women con artists. The film deliciously toys with the possibility of a group of women skillfully pulling off a daring, high profile, multi-million dollar heist – but with an added twist to the old adage: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
The story unfolds in a prison, where Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is pleading her case in front of a parole board. The stunning and estranged sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) – the lead character of the Ocean’s film series – vows to become a law-abiding citizen once released after more than five years of incarceration. Debbie Ocean sashays out of prison in the dress she had been arrested in – a knockout metallic black ensemble by Alberta Feretti, and with only 43 dollars to her name.
Without a care, she reverts to her true calling, making a few stops along the way, at a luxury goods store for some nifty shoplifting, and then proceeds to luxuriate at a swanky hotel on someone else’s account. She then pays a visit to the memorial of her now, assumingly deceased, brother. There, Reuben (Elliott Gould), Danny’s friend and the only character from the previous three Ocean films, emerges from the shadows to discourage her from following through with her plans.
Regardless, Debbie hooks up with her old partner-in-crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett) – a character that is essentially what Brad Pitt’s role was to Danny Ocean. While in solitary confinement, Debbie utilised her time to plan an audacious heist, chalked out to the last detail, that would do her brother proud. Mirroring the original Ocean’s 11 theme, Debbie handpicks her dream team with Lou, and the selection of the crew is only half the fun. For the seemingly impossible heist scheduled to take place at New York City’s exclusive annual Met Gala, Debbie’s team, portrayed by an ensemble supporting cast, includes well known actors like Helena Bonham Carter (Rose) as the bankrupt, has-been fashion designer, Sarah Paulson (Tammy) as a home-based mom-cum consumer racketeer, Mindy Kaling (Amita) as the gifted gem-setter, Rihanna (Nine Ball) as the high-tech hacker, and Awkwafina (Constance) as a street hustler/pickpocket.
Anne Hathaway, the eighth character in the movie, plays the role of an exceptionally vain actress, Daphne Kluger, and the unwitting mule to carry their prize, which Debbie describes as “spectacular, great, big, blingy, old-Liz Taylor jewels that are locked away 50 feet underground.” She is referring to the Toussaint – a $150 million Cartier diamond necklace that the con artistes’ plan to encourage Kluger to wear to the high security Gala – so they can nick it. Unknown to Lou, to avoid suspicion, Debbie’s intended fall guy is none other than her ex-boyfriend who defrauded her, and to add insult to injury, sent her to prison with his damning testimony.
The eight gifted actresses create a beautiful synergy on screen with their respective roles, but it is Sandra Bullock, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathway who stand out with their brilliant performances. This all-female spin-off was conceived seven years after the last sequel, Ocean’s 13, by Jerry Weintraub, Soderbergh and George Clooney, with Gary Ross as director. The brilliant twist at the end of the film does leave you wondering what Ocean’s 8 next sting might be.
The writer is a documentary filmmaker and activist. She is working with the Newsline as editorial assistant.