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REVIEW: “Ocean’s 8” Is A Fun, But Overly Safe Heist Film

“Ocean’s 8” was written and directed by Gary Ross and stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna and Mindy Kaling. The film is a spin-off of the “Ocean’s” trilogy in the 2000s starring George Clooney, and is about Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie, and her plan to steal a $150 million diamond necklace using her all-female crew.

I am ashamed to say it, but I have not seen a single “Ocean’s” movie before this one, so going into this movie, I came in without any sort of comparison to back it off of. I thought the trailer for this movie looked very fun, the cast was pretty loaded and the director was a capable one, so coming in, I had fairly hopeful aspirations for the film, but, above all, I just hoped that it was entertaining.

The Good

This movie truly puts all of its chips into the cast succeeding, and for the most part, the cast carries the film from start to finish. Bullock is very strong in the lead role of Debbie Ocean, consistently being able to portray a leader, as well as showing a strong sense of revenge and emotion in her undertones. Blanchett is great as her main sidekick, but then again, by Blanchett’s incredibly high standards, this is quite a run-of-the-mill performance for her.

I thought that Hathaway gave the strongest performance of the film as Daphne Kruger. Hathaway portrays the ditsy celebrity very well, and was also able to surprise when needed, while also being consistently charismatic in the role. Sarah Paulson, while not necessarily the most prevalent role, was one of the stronger members and did a great job, as did Rihanna, especially considering that acting may not be her strongest suit. The A-list stars all came to perform, but so did Awkwafina, who was very good as the pickpocket in the group.

The chemistry between all the members of the crew was very strong, and often made for the best moments. I also thoroughly enjoyed James Corden’s minor role, as he is back on my good side after his abomination of a role in “The Emoji Movie”.

This movie is at its best while the heist is in motion, as watching all the pieces come together to attempt to steal this necklace was incredibly satisfying, and all the parts of the plan felt genuine and original, but never too far-fetched to lose reality.

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The Bad

The problem with the heist, and with the whole film, for that matter, is just how easy everything feels to the crew way too often. Debbie Ocean is just so on top of everything for so much of this film that there is just a missing element of suspense because every piece of the plan feels so tight and perfect that the tension is all but gone. It is still fun to see pieces of the heist come together, but the movie is missing a needed dramatic heft that vanishes by the third act.

Going along with that, “Ocean’s 8” often feels very, very safe. Ross’ direction just never brings enough flair of any sorts to make this movie stand out for anything except for the fact that it is an all-female led cast. If this movie could have stretched some boundaries or went for some more interesting jokes or mixed up the heist formula in any way, this film could have been a major success, and one that I remember for a long time. But, as it stands, there was just not a lot there to make “Ocean’s 8” feel that fun, or that gritty, or that, pretty much anything more than mildly entertaining.

Conclusion

As someone with no experience to this franchise coming in, “Ocean’s 8” is a pretty fun film with strong performances from the cast and a few entertaining moments to look back on. However, this movie never hits any real heights, or pitfalls, staying at this slightly above average feel from start to finish. I really wish this was a more risky, more edgy, more thrill seeking movie, but “Ocean’s 8” played it painfully safe, and will be forgettable to most because of it.

Wyatt Crosher

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