Film Review: What Ocean’s 8 lacks in thrills it makes up for in performance
- Credit: PA Photo/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./Barry Wetcher
Despite a dissatisfying second chapter, Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans trilogy (2001 -2007) was a thrilling and inventive heist series which, following its conclusion with Oceans 13, seemed to inspire little demand for further sequels or re-boots.
Yet more than a decade later comes writer-director Gary Ross’ female-centric spin-off.
This time the action centres on Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of the apparently deceased Danny.
The film sees the criminal gathering a crew to carry out an audacious heist at the Met Gala.
Watching how Debbie’s disparate gang join forces is a delight, but Ross and co-writer Olivia Milch struggle to afford each of the characters time to shine, meaning some - Mindy Kaling - barely registering and others – Rihanna and Awkwafina – coming across as incessantly annoying, character types rather than fully rounded individuals.
Thankfully the tetrad of Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter and Sarah Paulson are with whom we spend most time and are never less than compelling.
In a caper such as this the main attraction is, along with its classy thespians, the heist itself.
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While Ross and Milch power Debbie’s plan along with a number of gripping and amusing segments they do very little to enliven the genre. The whole thing is terribly predictable.
Even when James Cordon’s insurance investigator turns up there is never any doubt of how things will end for Debbie and her gang.
Nevertheless, what Ross’ film lacks in thrills and invention it more than makes up for in style and performance.