Ocean's 8 (AU - M/UK - 12A/US - PG-13)

In A Word: (F)empowering

 08

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean and Cate Blanchett Lou in Ocean's 8.

 

"The challenge with such a large ensemble is adequately developing each character with such limited screen time. Ocean’s 8 makes a valiant effort, but at times struggles with pacing all the elements in the middle of the film. This isn’t helped by the lack of a strong antagonist to drive the conflict."

Ocean’s 11, 12 and 13 had a simple winning formula: 1. Build a team with a star-studded cast in a glamorous location. 2. Plan an intricate heist requiring ingenuity and charisma to pull off. 3. Insert a twist in the tale to finish strong. 

Ocean’s 8 features these ingredients, but with an all new female lead cast. Clooney, Pitt and the rest of the men make way for Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina and Mindy Kaling as the titular 8 con artists.

Bullock leads the team as Debbie Ocean, sister to the recently deceased Danny Ocean of the earlier films. Out on parole, she is now on a mission to pull off the biggest jewelry heist in history. Her target - a $150 million dollar Cartier necklace showcased at the Met Gala in New York.

It will be no simple task to infiltrate the gala, evade the high-tech surveillance and fool the ever-watchful security teams. For this, Ocean assembles a fence (Paulson), hacker (Rihanna), pick-pocket (Awkwafina), jeweller (Kaling) and fashion designer (Bonham Carter) to join her ensemble along with her long time partner in crime (Blanchett). Hathaway is given the opportunity to exercise her comedy skills as the dim-witted and overly pampered star of the gala, Daphne Kluger, the target of Ocean’s scheming.

The all female spin is what gives the film its identity. The scenes that are most memorable and humorous are rooted in the distinctly feminine perspectives and the intriguing contrasts that result in being both a woman and a professional criminal. These situations include being a mother and housewife while running an empire of stolen goods and exploring the insecurity of a celebrity that should have it all as well as the impact of age, fashion, ambition and lost love.

The challenge with such a large ensemble is adequately developing each character with such limited screen time. Ocean’s 8 makes a valiant effort, but at times struggles with pacing all the elements in the middle of the film. This isn’t helped by the lack of a strong antagonist to drive the conflict. Instead Ocean’s 8 relies more on the sheer charisma of the cast to makes the viewing compelling. These shining stars and glitzy locations power through the hurdles to deliver a somewhat satisfying conclusion. 

Ocean’s 8 isn’t all smooth sailing. It is however a refreshing take on the tried and true formula. The intrigue and humour is peppered with a healthy dose of female empowerment. Heist movies have always celebrated the resourcefulness and boldness of a likable band of rogues and this is no different. Ocean’s 8 does a good job in making audiences root for their success in the caper and hope they get off scott-free by virtue of their wit and ingenuity. It is easy to forget, that underneath it all, this is a theft based in ambition and revenge. So in that, the final con is on us as, the audience, as the unwitting accomplices to the plot.