Film Review: Ocean’s Eleven

From time to time you can run the risk of over analyzing, trying to look too deeply, to find meanings, analogies, that just don’t exist or aren’t necessary. Ocean’s Eleven is a film which, as you watch, can easily cause you to fall directly into that trap.

Please, don’t look too deeply into this film. Steven Soderbergh is not trying to bring any other than light hearted fun and entertainment to the screen. This isn’t the hard hitting story of Erin Brockovich or the thought provoking drama of contagion and sadly just reinforces how poor Side Effects was. Ocean’s Eleven is nothing short of an A-List cast having fun. Done very well.

The plot is stupid, ill conceived and full of enough open questions and holes that the Swiss would probably be happy to name a brand of cheese after it. But I refer you to my opening paragraph. Who honestly cares about the plot. Ocean’s Eleven serves no real purpose in life other than to give you 2 hours of escapism.

It’s the Hollywood A-List version of a soap opera. It’s not real life, it could never happen, everything is ramped up to 11, but you don’t care. It’s designed to give you a break for the monotony and emptiness of your own existence that we all feel from time to time. It’s designed to be silly and stupid.

Now, ignoring my opening paragraph, setting aside the plot, script and looking at it from a technical film making point of view there is real class behind it all. The sound track plays perfectly with the setting and feel of the film. It has just the right amount of gloss and show to create the exact atmosphere but never over powering, interfering or diminishing from the scene.

Performance wise, they all just tick along. They know they are the Hollywood “frat pack”, essentially at the top of their game, being asked to just be suave and sophisticated. You can easily accuse Clooney, of quite often, going a little over the top, while Pitt walks through the film barely breaking into a sweat but still bringing enough to be convincing the whole time. However, it’s the minor roles that leave the memorable impressions: Damon nails naive perfectly, Eddie Jemison is more than convincing as the tech guy who you just know would find the joke “there are 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t” funny and Don Cheadle is brilliant as the cockney bomb expert, if only for taking voice coaching lessons from Dick Van Dyke.

And the pace, and production style of the film, just wrap everything together perfectly. It knows it’s place in the world, what it wants to convey, and how it’s audience will react to it and knows exactly how to ensure that the end result fits this.

Just remember, it’s not going to be a movie that challenges you mentally, it’s not even going to sit in your collection as a “go-to” fail safe when you need a classic, but it is exactly the movie that every bloke will own, because every bloke knows that there is just that one night, where your girlfriend wants to curl up on the sofa with you and watch a film. And in the moment, Ocean’s Eleven is perfect, because no matter what anyone says you can be sure of two things:

1, she is more interested in 2 hours of Clooney, Pit and Damon than the actual movie and 2, even though you know it’s stupid, and would never work, there is part of you that wishes you were one of the eleven. It’s the perfect film for keeping the peace.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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