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Review: Is “Ocean’s 8” Worth Your Time?

The film Ocean’s 8 highlights that even when a team of women plan and execute a grand heist, they are still emotional and essentially driven by men. No other explanation for a movie that should have its audience gripping the edge of their seats giving more chick flick vibes than anything else. There’s also the constant reminder of Danny Ocean sprinkled between every other scene. A subtle reminder so that the audience never forgets whose game this really is.

Film banner: Photo – BBC

The movie begins with the release of Debbie Ocean (played by Sandra Bullock) from prison. The entire introduction, from her stylish exit to her first hit, is pure girl boss vibes and possibly the reason why the rest of the movie falls flat. Why go through the ingenuity required to establish the lead character as a con man’s icon if there is no plan to follow through with the same energy? Very quickly, we go from seeing a strong woman secure in the mastery of her craft to a woman planning a heist to make her dead brother proud (which isn’t entirely terrible) and then realising her love for a man is what sent her to prison in the first place.

From then, it’s a painful decline into planning an elaborate heist, detailed primarily for revenge. Where is the passion and greed that drives a majority of the best thieves and con artists we have gotten familiar with both on and off screen? Can women form a gang because they want to cash out? Maybe such hardcore crime movies are reserved for an all-female cast of a different race.

Even with a fantastic cast, this movie sadly lost much of its steam after the first act. Admittedly, the getting-the-band-together act was enjoyable even though it seemed a tad bit spaced out. The movie is set in New York, famous for being one of the busiest cities in the whole world. Yet, we feel none of that buzz or energy. If anything, Bullock and Cate Blanchett appear a bit hesitant about getting a band together at all. This is somewhat confusing as Bullock keeps going on about how much time she put into making her plan – 5 years, eight months, 12 days. This actually sounds like an exciting country album. Perhaps an insight into the history between Bullock and Blanchett would have helped with context.

Oceans 8 movie cast. Photo: Teaser Trailers

Some may argue that this approach is more natural, especially when compared to the movies where one phone call is all it requires to get members of a team scattered across a city, or two, to assemble at one point. Whether I agree or not, the character is definitely appreciated. Besides Bullock and Blanchett, we had a star-studded cast: a hacker played by Rihanna, an A-list actress played by Anne Hathaway, a down-on-her-luck fashion designer played by Helena Bonham-Carter, a thief-turned-suburban-mum played by Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina as a street hustler, and a young jeweller played by Mindy Kaling.

Is Ocean’s 8 glamourous or even slightly luxurious? Not entirely. Is it fast-paced and witty? Not as far as the main actors are concerned. But is it a movie you will enjoy watching by yourself or with friends? It is definitely both. In as much as the primary cast was underutilised, there is no denying how enjoyable each character made their role. The little mannerisms and character interactions almost completely made up for what was lacking in dialogue.

The styling was brilliant, each scene tied together brilliantly to tell this story, and they even threw in a few plot twists right at the end. It’s one of those movies I will gladly watch again, but more because watching the characters on screen was fun and there were a few decent cameos, and not necessarily because the story was particularly fantastic.

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