Ocean's Eight

Ocean's Eight ★★½

Structurally, this is so similar to Ocean’s 11, and yet it is not as good. Small changes that make a big difference:

-As in each of the Soderbergh Ocean’s, the heist has a personal motivation; in this case Debbie Ocean wants revenge on a scumbag art dealer who framed her and got her sent to jail. But this scumbag is basically just a patsy, oblivious to the scheme happening around him. In Ocean’s 11, Terry Benedict, the casino magnate the crew is robbing, knows Danny Ocean is up to no good and actively tries to stop him. The shift from an antagonist who the heroes outsmart to one that’s basically just along for an unfortunate ride (and barely apprears onscreen in the second act) makes a big difference in terms of stakes and emotional investment. I just cared less. 

-Having 11 members of the crew allows room for more quirk and fun. The core group here (which is actually 7 and not 8 for a lot of the film) is very stylish and cool, and certainly that sort of swagger was a big part of the Soderbergh movies. The more expansive supporting cast of his movies left room for more weird digressions and personality, which I found a little lacking here. 

The plot about a bunch of thieves trying to steal some priceless jewelry and replace it with zirconium duplicates is kind of fitting, I suppose, because that’s what Ocean’s 8 ultimately is. It looks just like the priceless original but it’s nowhere near as valuable.

Matt liked this review