Thursday, 14 June 2007
Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) dir. Steven Soderbergh
Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon etc etc
“Ocean’s 13” is actually pretty good and I’m surprised how much I enjoyed it. I liked the “Ocean’s 11”, though it didn’t seem as clever or funny as it thought it was. And “Ocean’s 12” was just so convoluted, I tuned out at the hour mark. But “Ocean’s 13” gets it right. Gone are any forced emotional attachments or love interests, this time round it's all about revenge – plain and simple.
Danny Ocean (Clooney) and the boys (I stopped counting to see if there’s actually 13 of them this time) have gathered together once again to do another score. This time the target is Willie Bank (Al Pacino) another casino magnate who recently doubled-crossed Ocean’s pal, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) out of a deal with their new casino.
Willie Bank is a tough dude with lots of money, lots of casinos and lots of power. With the opening of this new casino the boys plot to scar Banks’ reputation for life, and take away $70m dollars of his money, not from the vault, but from the gambling tables right in front of the dealers’ and Banks’ eyes. Ocean and Rusty (Pitt) have the scam all laid out. Standing in their way though is a new security computer system which is so smart it can detect liars and cheaters from the monitored heat emissions from their bodies and the pupil dilations of their eyes. Part 1 of the plan is to disable the computer; Part 2 of the plan is to rig the gambling machines, dice and cards so everyone on the floor, including the regular public can win their games. Part 3 of the plan is to take Banks’ prized possession - a series of diamond necklaces awarded to each of his other casinos for excellence in service.
The plan of action is described to the audience in a five minute stretch of dialogue. The mechanics of the heist breezed past me with such speed I was worried, like in “Ocean’s 12”, that I didn’t absorb the information and would be totally lost for the rest of the film. On the contrary, as things started to unfold I realized I wasn’t supposed to retain all the info, and that everything would fall into place like a puzzle as the film moved along.
The result is a fine crafted – though preposterously implausible – ass-fuck for Willie Bank. Every possible escape that Bank might have out of his predicament is foreseen and accounted for by Ocean. Bank and his casino are putty in Ocean’s hands ready to be kneaded, shaped and manipulated.
Due to the amount of cast members most of the actors’ real talents are underused – like Don Cheadle, who’s underused in all of the films and Bernie Mac who is virtually gagless. But the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and once the film starts rolling, it gains enough speed that the film supersedes the celeb factor. Perhaps the best character is Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) who is recruited to help Ocean in his grand scheme. But Terry isn’t a complete ally either and he has perhaps the best in the film in the denouement. Gotta check it out.
The film finally gets the Rat Packness correct by making the film all about the heist. And I hate to say it, but the Rat Pack was a boys club. And this is why I think it’s the best of the three – no love story, no earnestness, no Julia Roberts. The characters even reference the Chairman of the Board himself who is given a small but key reference in the film. They all go out in style. Enjoy.