Friday, May 18, 2018

Movie Review: "Ocean's Eleven" (2001)

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Year: 2001
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

Danny Ocean, who has recently been released on parole, rounds up his old crew and a few newcomers to pull off a seemingly impossible casino robbery.
"I only lied about being a thief." (Image Source)
If you went to prison and got paroled, what's the first thing you'd do with your newfound freedom? If your answer involves planning a seemingly impossible casino robbery with a hidden personal agenda, chances are you think a lot like Danny Ocean. "Ocean's Eleven" is directed by Steven Soderbergh, who is known for directing films like "Sex, Lies, and Videotape," "Traffic," and "Erin Brockovich." The screenplay is written by Ted Griffin and is a re-imagining of the 1960 film "Ocean's 11" directed by Lewis Milestone. It stars George Clooney as Danny Ocean, a well-known thief who has just been recently paroled from prison. His first order of business as a former jailbird is to round up his former associates and a couple of new cohorts so they can attempt the impossible: a three casino robbery on the weekend of a World Heavyweight Boxing championship fight. Joining Clooney as members of Ocean's crew are Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Elliot Gould, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Shaobo Qin, and Eddie Jemison. Each of these individuals uses their particular set of skills to attempt to pull off one of the most difficult robberies in one of the most intricate ways imaginable.
"In my hotels, there's always somebody watching." (Image Source)
"Ocean's Eleven" is not the first heist movie to be put to celluloid, but it's one of the few films others in the genre get compared to on a regular basis. Maybe that's because it's so much damn fun. Steven Soderbergh does a great job creating a fast-paced, extremely punchy movie with a wonderful ensemble cast. The characters and the actors playing them all look like they are having a fantastic time. This allows the audience to feel like they are sharing in those good times as well. Sure, the robbery is a super over-the-top Hollywood fantasy heist, but in the early 2000's, it was exactly what we were looking for as moviegoers. If you examine the minutiae of the heist closely,  there are bound to be some unanswered questions and a few plot holes as to how exactly the Ocean's Eleven pulled it off and made certain switches, but honestly, we were too busy enjoying ourselves to notice these elements.
"It's a lot of money, but I'm staying in. I'm calling his bluff." (Image Source)
The acting isn't anything spectacular. George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bernie Mac, and Brad Pitt spend the entire movie being their charming selves without much variation from who they are in their day to day lives. A few of the actors are tasked with playing caricatures, especially when it comes to Scott Caan and Casey Affleck's excessive arguing brothers shtick and Don Cheadle's awfully exaggerated British accent riddled with cockney slang. Ted Griffin and Steven Soderbergh get the audience to root for this band of misfits. We want them to pull off this heist because they are an extremely charismatic bunch despite being criminals. They also add some personal stakes for Danny Ocean in the form of an ex-wife, Tess (Julia Roberts), who is now dating the completely unlikable Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the owner of the three casinos Ocean and his crew are about to rob (yet another reason we want Danny to come out on top of the situation).

Over the years, many crime movies have come and gone out of the public's minds. We have never forgotten about "Ocean's Eleven." We've watched it on numerous occasions, and though it has lost a bit of its snap over time, it is still an entertaining movie overall.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.8/10
RT Rating: 82%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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