I had skipped on the Ocean’s movies for a while. It was during the 366 movies in 366 days challenge that I finally opted to watch Ocean’s Eleven (2001). I did see Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky (2017) last year, which utilizes a similar formula in structure that director Gary Ross follows in Ocean’s 8 (2018). However, this film isn’t a reboot of the Ocean’s films, opting to be a spin-off sequel following Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock).
Ocean’s 8 steals its share of laughs and interesting characters
The film opens with Debbie pleading her case with teary eyes to an unseen parole board after spending the last five years in prison. Not a surprise to those familiar with the Ocean family – the tears were an act, but it worked, and she’s back in New York with plans for a heist. Debbie begins assembling a team of seven to pull off an unexpected jewel heist at the Met Gala, but her partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett), begins to suspect there is another plan that Debbie isn’t sharing.
This film needs the cast to be strong in order for it to work – and fortunately, it is. Bullock and Blanchett are both unbelievably charming. Their chemistry is evident in their first interaction together, and again during the recruiting process (a staple of the heist genre), which just builds on it. Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, and Helena Bonham Carter are all brought into the group for their various skills, and Anne Hathaway is used as the neck to wear the diamonds they plan on stealing. The structure works, and creates some solid moments for all involved. Paulson actually rises to be on par with Bullock and Blanchett, continuing to impress with her abilities as an actress.
The heist itself – which I’ll leave the details out as to not spoil anything – is a lot of fun. It would be easy to poke holes in aspects of the plan, but it’s a fictional film…and as long as it’s entertaining, it works. Debbie demonstrates her talents as a con-woman immediately after leaving prison. She leaves in a fancy dress, proceeds to get new makeup and clothes, followed by securing a fancy hotel room – all without spending a single dollar. The talent she surrounds herself with also check out, and each has pretty big personalities, which helps make suspension of disbelief needed to buy into the plot a bit easier.
Ocean’s 8 manages to breathe enough life back into the franchise to make it a fun popcorn movie. The cast is notably strong, and they click from moment to moment. If you’ve seen the other films and enjoy them, then you should be fulfilled at the conclusion of this one. Ocean’s 8 steal the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.