Movie: Ocean’s 8
Directed by: Gary Ross
Reviewed by Fatima Zakir
Amongst the Jurrasic Worlds and Incredibles 2s along with a plethora of Pakistani releases, came Ocean’s 8 with an ensemble cast of Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, Awkwafina etc. Ever since the trailers were out, I just kept wondering how they would justify the screen space amongst the best of the bests and how difficult would it be for the director to live up to the expectations from Ocean’s franchise. To my extreme pleasure, it was a satisfying experience.
Ocean’s 8 is watching just another Ocean’s movie with an all women cast and not just any women... some of the finest performers and stunning actresses in Hollywood. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is Danny Ocean’s (George Clooney from Ocean’s franchise) sister, and as indicated in the movie Danny is deceased. The movie starts with Debbie, who is seen performing flawlessly to persuade the parole board to release her from prison, is set free and returns to New York to assemble the team that would help her pull off the biggest jewellery heist of all time.
Her first stop is Lou, Cate Blanchett, who is her long time partner with whom she shares a playful and smart relationship. Cate Blanchett, in this movie, is without any doubt sizzling. Not only does her strong demeanor intimidate you but she also acts as the voice of reason behind Debbie’s ambitious and wild ideas.
Together they assemble a team of women with different traits best suited to steal a one-of-a-kind, $150 million diamond Cartier necklace from the starlet who’s wearing it, right in the middle of the Met Gala. Each woman brings a specific talent and energy to the team.
Together, they round up Amita (Mindy Kaling) a jeweller who’s used to doing shady work for Debbie; con artist and petty thief Constance (Awkwafina), Sarah Paulson (Tammy), a reliable fence trying to live a quiet life as a wife and mom; Nine Balls (Rihanna) as a hacker who solves every tricky security challenge with confidence; and fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), whose fame and clout provide the team with access to the star-studded event.
The final player is the one who doesn’t even realize she’s been recruited, Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), who’s one of the gala’s hosts and whose neck will carry that expensive piece of shiny necklace.
The emphasis on an all women team as put forth by Debbie is relatable if you are a woman. “A him gets noticed,” says Debbie. “A her gets ignored. For once, we want to be ignored.” But ignored is definitely what they didn’t get. Just imagine eight beautiful women in gorgeous attires looking their stunning best, trying to steal jewels, in a tried, tested and thrilling Ocean’s way. How can you not love it?
As for the performances, it is difficult to pick and choose the best from the team. Sandra Bullock is a perfect Debbie to George Clooney’s Danny. She has the right attitude, ambition and plan to do what her family is best at doing - larceny. Helena Bonham Carter is just the right mix of naivety and adorableness, who is clearly new to the game with zero experience but is trying her best not to disappoint the team. Mindy Kaling and Awkwafina fit their roles like gloves while Rihanna is so natural with her no nonsense, cool hacker attitude. Anne Hathaway shines as Daphne Kluger, a celebrity swaying from lunacy to insecure fragility and from being egomaniac to expressing giddy girlishness.
Like a lot of sequels that usually don’t turn out well, Ocean’s 8 is just a gender flip of the Ocean’s franchise which does not take away its pride and glory. In fact, it adds an element of novelty to the entire franchise making it diversified and grander.
Putting forth all the good things about the movie that couldn’t be ignored, let’s talk about a few hiccups. There weren’t enough great lines for everyone. Sure, Sandra Bullock and Anne Hathaway get some of the best lines in the movie. One of the best comes nearly at the end when Debbie is talking to her team via an earpiece, “You are not doing this for me or the team. Somewhere out there, there’s an 8-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal. You’re doing this for her.”
For that matter, James Corden as the insurance fraud investigator has some good lines too and is commendable in his small yet impactful role. However, it was Cate Blanchett and Rihanna who needed some more punch lines as these were the quirkier characters.
Also, it was quite predictable if you have followed Ocean’s first three movies. Not that it takes away any thrill from the movie, but it also limits any options of uniqueness as you know the end already and are looking forward to the characters living happily ever after.
If you like heist movies or have seen any of the Ocean’s movies and liked it, Ocean’s 8 should be your next pick. It may not be the best from the franchise, yet it’s a great watch in this time and genre that will keep you hooked with a smile on your face.
More power to you, girls!
“ You are not doing this for me or the team. Somewhere out there, there’s an 8-year-old girl dreaming of becoming a criminal. You’re doing this for her.”