Debbie Ocean, the sister of the supposedly late Danny Ocean, is put into an interrogation room asking if she’s ready to rejoin society. She says with scared stuttering that she wishes to find a stable job, make rent, walk around the block and forget about her longtime family of criminals. Pfffft. She won’t even try. Kind of crazy how after being in jail for over five years she has the audacity to do two big fake-out cons in just a few hours. Well, she’s been planning one particular heist since she got in, so I guess pop goes the weasel. Well, the Met Gala is in five weeks, and model Daphne Kluger is going to be wearing The Toussaint, a $150 million necklace that’s been locked away for decades, and Debbie wants to get a squad: an inside girl, a diamonds expert, a pickpocket, a hacker, a personal sidekick, a good mover, and maybe a surprise heart-changer, to get a few million dollars in her account and keep up the Ocean legacy.
I love the fact girls are being more upfront in blockbusters these days. After the 2016 Ghostbusters, Melissa McCarthy’s Spy, this, and the upcoming The Spy Who Dumped Me, it’s solid proof female casts are more than capable of being as upfront and kickass as its male dominated hits.
Here’s a small story about me and the Ocean’s movies. I saw Ocean’s 11 as a kid, still not reviewing movies. What year exactly I forget. And I found it exciting but convoluted, and something else was going on at the time that made me distracted from it. Then I decided to watch some of Ocean’s 12. I couldn’t get through it, I thought it was horrible, though both movies I’d have to rewatch before giving a competent review of. And I never got around to Ocean’s 13. This is the first one where I’m in complete attention, and it had the 2003 Italian Job to contend with, my favourite movie of all time, also a complex heist. I didn’t expect it would reach that level and it didn’t, as few films have, but the movie’s three biggest advantages: its cast, their different requirements in the plan, and the suspense because we know these characters aren’t handcuff-proof; make it a movie hard to hate. Still, it visibly could’ve been more spectacular story-wise.
For instance, there’s a character named Claude Becker whom Debbie has somber history with. We’re told about this rather than shown, and I felt I would’ve felt for Debbie’s desire to make off with the necklace more if we were shown in the opening how her downfall came to be instead of beginning with her release. I feel everyone who gets paroled from prison deserves a chance at an honest job and income, and I felt the same for this character. Five years is a very long time to be in jail. So if there was some sort of unforgiven action, I wish I could’ve seen it in action. And this flaw sort of seems inevitable, but most of the crew here are such spontaneous and beloved actresses that we think of them more as themselves robbing the bank rather than their character names.
Still, impressively, the movie never felt so cheesy that a heist like that couldn’t be pulled off in real life, and even better, the crew we get comes in many shapes and sizes, including a mother who sells stolen goods from her garage. Really makes you think about the lengths some people have to go to keep food on the table.
Ocean’s 8 may not be the best caper ever, but it’s a better caper than a lot I’ve seen recently, with a good enough cast to each have memorable parts in the planning and executing, and I hope to see an Ocean’s 9 and 10.