A sisterhood of frolicsome felons: Ocean’s 8 review by Rashid Irani
Eleven years after Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his criminal cronies called it a day, Sandra Bullock and a band of glamorous grifters enter the fray to pull off a near-impossible jewellery heist.
This is meant to be a kind of turning-point film. It isn’t. It offers nothing new, other than the gender of the ensemble star cast.
Almost immediately after she’s released from prison on parole, Debbie (Bullock), the sister of the now-deceased Danny, enlists an octet of gal pals to swipe a priceless Cartier necklace at a swanky soiree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the felons is a computer hacker (Rihanna), a fashion maven (Helena Bonham Carter), a multi-tasking fence (Sarah Paulson) and the mastermind’s former partner-in-crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett).
At one point, Debbie responds to a request to recruit a man into their group by saying: “A him gets noticed, a her gets ignored”.
That’s clearly changing in La-La Land. Hollywood honchos are more willing to bankroll projects with women in the leads; women are slaying it as superheroes and in all-female ensemble. More power to them all.
Ocean’s 8, however, is a retread of familiar caper elements, without the wit and exhilaration of the original Ocean’s 11 from 1960, which starred Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr, Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
There are narrative twists aplenty this time around, particularly involving a deceptively ditzy actress (Anne Hathaway, in scene-stealing form). Several A-list celebrities including Anna Wintour, Serena Williams and Heidi Klum are glimpsed at the Met event.
Sandra Bullock and her sisterhood appear to be having the time of their lives. I’m not so sure we can say the same for the audience.
Perhaps it’ll help to have a woman helm the inevitable follow-up. It couldn’t hurt.