With the release of “Ocean’s 8” being upon us (June 27th here in Sweden), I thought it was time for me to finally talk about the movies that preceded it. So today it’s “Ocean’s Eleven”. And over the next two weeks you can look forward to reviews of “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”. Will I cover the 60s original? Probably not. With that out of the way, let’s get into the review.
Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Eleven”.
After being released from prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) plans to pull a heist at a big casino owned by a man named Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). But he can’t do this alone. So with the help of his friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) he gathers up a crew of specialists to help pull this heist. It’s a basic heist movie formula that we’ve seen so many times at this point… but this movie is one of the better examples of how it should be done. Yes, we know the story beats (since they are repeated in so many movies), but “Ocean’s Eleven” does it in a way that makes it feel fresh. The twists and turns in here still catch me off guard despite me having seen the movie before. And this due to a brisk pace, genuine suspense, and a believably executed plan.
The characters in this are colorful, unique, and really entertaining. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, the man with the plan who the movie is named after. He’s a charismatic and intelligent con artist with a troubled past. He may be cooler than ice, but he still feels fairly realistic (Clooney handsomeness aside). And Clooney is great in the role. Then we have Brad Pitt as Rusty, Ocean’s closest confidant and old time ally. Clever, cool, and with a devil-may-care attitude, it’s basically the heist movie version of Brad Pitt… and I’m okay with that. So yeah, Pitt is really good in the role. Next up we have Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict, the film’s antagonist and target of the heist. There’s a quiet intensity about him that makes him a somewhat intimidating guy whenever we’re in a scene with him. And Garcia is really good in the role. I will also not go in-depth with every character, because that would make this part too long. But I will say that the rest of the crew consists of Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, and Qin Shaobo. Then we have Julia Roberts as Ocean’s ex-wife. So yeah, this movie is filled with cool people, and all of them do really well in their respective roles.
The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and I think he did a really good job. The score is very jazzy and bouncy, giving a very fun and energetic vibe to the movie. But it still never takes away from the suspenseful moments. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout and they work well in their respective scenes.
This movie was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh and I think he did a great job with it. His direction here has a very fast and fun style that keeps it from ever feeling boring or slow. He also manages to build a lot of suspense here, with one sequence in particular almost making me curl up in my chair due to the level of suspense in that moment. And I usually never talk about this, but the editing here is as slick as it gets, often adding to the suspense or just overall fun of a scene. Speaking of fun, there’s some comedy sprinkled throughout this movie, and I found it to be genuinely funny.
This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.
“Ocean’s Eleven” is a fast-paced and fun crime caper with a very fun cast. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/editing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Eleven” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
My review of “Ocean’s Eleven” is now completed.
Remember, “Ocean’s Twelve” next week!