Friday 19 October 2018

Ocean's 8 ★★★☆☆

I won’t be drawing any sort of comparison to the prior Ocean’s films. Ocean’s 8 does directly address the series, though I don’t feel that it’s necessary as it works as its own film, despite missteps. The titular eight characters are introduced rather - what I would unflatteringly describe as - efficiently. Establish current employment, show that they are unhappy in said employment, demonstrate their specific skills and how they yearn for one particular dream, enter Sandra Bullock.

Like I said, it’s efficient - quickly establishing who everyone is, and how they will be used - but clunky. Yet I’m not about to fault it for that, because we have eight people and a short amount of time to learn who they are and why they’re participating. Which brings to light the most important elements for this type of shared narrative: casting and chemistry. Excelling in these areas can, I’d argue, support a weak narrative, and certainly did for me here.

Ocean’s 8 is full of contrivances. In fact, the more I think about the logistics of the heist, the closer I get to a migraine. Whether or not the script could have been improved to a point where the heist could be outright believable, I couldn’t tell you. What I can tell you is that I was along for the ride regardless. Where logic failed and dialogue grated, the charisma and chemistry between the characters made those flaws far less of a problem. It was when the heist was about to begin that I noticed my heartbeat; fast, very fast. Ocean’s 8 had won me over entirely. It successfully lined up the dominos, and as we moved into act three the first domino fell, and I fell with it.

Ocean’s 8 is far from flawless; the necessary elements to put the plan into motion are absurdly convenient, potential setbacks are contrived, and the dialogue fluctuates between naturalistic to robotic. And frankly, I didn’t care. As an ensemble piece, it accomplishes an energetic and inviting group dynamic that cannot be achieved through the script alone. The heist itself isn’t the selling point, and thank god for that because without the performances Ocean’s 8 would be a disaster.

Lewis Hill

Ocean's 8 at CeX

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