Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Gary Ross
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Eigil Bryld
WRITERS: Gary Ross, Olivia Milch
MUSIC: Daniel Pemberton
Sandra Bullock leads a whole new team with “Ocean’s 8”, the fourth film in heist franchise from Warner Bros. The cast is strong, but the film falls due to a rather routine heist film. Another problem is that it feels like the studio was a bit too desperate to create a story that resembled the original film.
In this movie, Debbie Ocean (Bullock) has just been released from prison. Her goal is to assemble a team that can then infiltrate the Met Gala to steal a necklace that is worth $150,000,000. The team consists of Debbie’s former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), a jewelry maker named Anita (Mindy Kaling), a former thief named Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a pickpocket named Constance (Awkwafina), a hacker named Nine Ball (Rhianna) and a fashion designer named Rose (Helena Bonham Carter).
The cast is fantastic as these ladies definitely have plenty of chemistry with one another. I honestly couldn’t find any fault in the performances and I was happiest when I was learning who they were as the movie introduced each of them. The film also does a good job of trying to look like a film that belongs to the series, but this is also turns into a big problem for me.
I started to realize that I had seen these characters before. Almost the entire cast is playing a carbon copy cutout of characters featured in the previous films. For example, Blanchett is clearly the Brad Pitt to Bullock’s George Clooney and therefore Lou doesn’t standout on her own nearly as much as she should.
This applies to other characters as well. Constance is obviously Matt Damon’s Linus Caldwell, Rhianna’s Nine Ball is Don Cheadle’s Basher, etc. So, for most of the movie, I felt like I had seen this all before and while following a formula is not always a bad thing, in this film things were a bit too familiar and this affected the heist as well. The movie doesn’t try to break the mold and that mean that I knew some twists were coming and I also predicted what most of those twists would be.
Finally, I was left asking a couple of questions after the heist. I don’t want to reveal those questions here for spoiler reasons, but I did feel there were a few plot holes that were just not resolved by the end of the film. A good heist film should not make you leave the theater asking questions such as this film did.
The movie is not the worst film in the franchise (that still belongs to “Ocean’s Twelve”), but it did leave me wanting more and not in a good way. The cast is brilliant and I did have fun from time to time, but this is a heist that I ultimately wanted to abort rather than see it through to the end.