Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. USA, 2018. Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Rahway Road Productions, Smokehouse Pictures. Story by Gary Ross, Screenplay by Gary Ross, Olivia Milch, based on characters created by George Clayton Johnson, Jack Golden Russell. Cinematography by Eigil Bryld. Produced by Susan Ekins, Steven Soderbergh. Music by Daniel Pemberton. Production Design by Alex DiGerlando. Costume Design by Sarah Edwards. Film Editing by Juliette Welfling.
Sandra Bullock plays the sister to Danny Ocean (portrayed by George Clooney in the Steven Soderbergh films), released from jail after five years behind bars and ready to leave her criminal life behind…or at least leave getting caught behind. Reuniting with crime partner Cate Blanchett, Bullock concocts a scheme that will help them get their groove back, the stealing of a Cartier necklace valued at around 150 million dollars that a famous movie star (Anne Hathaway doing a very funny send-up of herself) will be wearing to the Met Gala. Heists are a machine with many parts, of course, so they’ll need a fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter at her kooky best), a jewel expert (Mindy Kaling, the strongest she’s been in a film yet), a brilliant thief (Awkwafina), a top-level hacker (Rihanna) and a very successful hoarder (Sarah Paulson) to get the job done right. In the grand tradition of heist movies, and in particular the Oceans series, the plot only includes character details when they relate specifically to the job, breezily moving from set-up to planning to execution to aftermath in an economic if unremarkable manner. No one needed this one to do anything other than be a glamorous and fun rehash of the previous films with the added pleasure of a feminine spin, but it’s still disappointing that we get to the main event and it hardly raises one’s pulse. It’s a highly enjoyable and appropriately ridiculous film that benefits greatly from its cast, all of whom get a fair shot at shining on screen and do so, with Bonham Carter a first among equals (her scene taking Hathaway out to lunch while Blanchett and Bullock blow bubbles to distract her is worth the price of admission alone). The main drawback is that there’s always supposed to be a point in a heist movie when an unexpected variable threatens to ruin what has been meticulously prepared for, convincing the audience that the crew has failed and which then leads to the discovery that they had it taken care of all along. We have a few disingenuous stabs at conflict (such as the tired of subplot of Bullock reuniting with ex-boyfriend Richard Armitage, which is straight out of Who’s That Girl) that don’t really stick, and the ease with which everything happens robs this one of a good climax. Other aspects of the plot that are problematic and disappointing are impossible to describe without the danger of spoilers, so let it suffice to say that the film is somewhere on par with Ocean’s 12 or 13 and not the first of Soderbergh’s remakes.