Ocean’s 8 movie review: An all-female star cast let down by its male director
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna
Director: Gary Ross
Another all-female reboot, another reason to bring out your biggest men’s rights activists’ guns. The bad reviews are in for Ocean’s 8, the latest franchise ‘taken over’ by women, and that’s all the reason fanatics need to wipe the idea off the face of the earth. However, this film is not the ideal excuse for it.
Ocean’s 8 fails to work not due to its all-star cast but because of director Gary Ross’ lazy storytelling, lack of imagination and the film’s glacial pace. Even after casting multiple Oscar winners like Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, or fan favourites such as Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling, he fails to deliver a half decent heist movie.
Bullock plays Danny Ocean’s (played by George Clooney in the first three editions) sister who is being let out on parole after five years in jail. After promising to be on her best behaviour once out, she does the exact opposite. She wows you in a tight five-minute medley of intelligent cons, her idea of reclaiming her life.
While in jail, she also came up with a plan to rob a diamond necklace at the prestigious Met Gala. The bauble rests on the neck of Anne Hathaway’s narcissistic Hollywood brat.
To bring her plan to life, she brings together a team of eight one-dimensional characters, played by people who deserved much better. There is the biker girl, wasted on the talents of Blanchett; the silent hacker girl, wasted on the awesomeness of Rihanna; the weird fashion designer, wasted on the acting prowess of Bonham-Carter; the hoarder housewife, wasted on the Emmys of Sarah Paulson; the loner jewels specialist, wasted on the lovability of Kaling and the goofy pickpocket, wasted on the coolness of Awkwafina.
While executing their plan, they are faced with insignificant challenges, which makes Ocean’s 8 feel like a video testament to their awesomeness rather than a believable story of a group working to achieve a difficult objective and forging a relationship while at it. The entire first half is dedicated to hatching a flawless plan and while that is indeed expected to be less exciting than actual heist, it was never so dreadfully lacklustre. Not a single character introduction stands out in my memory and it’s a struggle to think of scenes that did manage to squeeze out a reaction.
Hathaway’s over-the-top performance is perfectly suited for her role of an egotistical diva as she cracks fake smiles at galas, swoons over jewels, screams and cries at a dress that won’t fit and plays men for fools. She is perhaps the only reason you might want to put away your phones while you sit through this snooze-fest.
On the other hand, Blanchett’s treatment is the one that hurts the most as there is absolutely nothing more to her than her stylish suits. She gets just one scene—when she confronts Bullock for her selfish plan—in which she isn’t simply a foil to Bullock but even that idea dissolves in mere seconds. At the end of the movie, we watch her ride her bike into the sunset, one of the many dreams of the many characters we never got invested in.
However, the film does manage to pick up pace and get more exciting in the second half when they pull off the heist. The editing is crisper, transitions feel sleeker and the ultimate twist is indeed impressive. And this twists the knife in even more cruelly for Gary Ross did have a worthy idea but failed to bring it to fruition. Ocean’s 8 is nowhere as wholesome as the fans had imagined it to be.
So am I still up for all-female reboots? Definitely, as long as they have a director -- male or female – who can bring them to life.
Watch the Ocean’s 8 video movie review here
The author tweets as @soumya1405
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