• 14 Jul - 20 Jul, 2018
  • Mohammad Kamran Jawaid
  • Reviews

In one scene before the movie’s big heist, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), gives herself a confidence boost. Just think of that little girl, somewhere, who wants to believe that she will be a great con artist, she tells herself.

As Danny Ocean’s little sister, conning people is literally in their blood; Danny (George Clooney), is dead – but that may just be another con.

Director/co-writer Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) has a more relaxed style, and deliberately keeps away from adding actors from previous Ocean movies (well, give or take a cameo or two). The focus is on female empowerment – but then again, that doesn’t pan out that neatly either.

Ethnically rounded-off, Oceans 8 is lackluster, unimaginative, okay-ish entertainment. It is predictable right down to its end. The cast includes: Cate Blanchett (fine), Anne Hathaway (quite good), Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna (all three, ho-hum) and Helena Bonham Carter (spectacular).

At least two women could easily be cut out from the screenplay – but then one would have a problem with race and color. Choices, choices.

Ross, who is better in slow-dramas, doesn’t have Steven Soderbergh’s whip, zoom, retro, 70’s panache (though, we do see a few fast and slow zooms in a few shots) – and this spinoff venture, and the girl’s heist, needed panache as well. By the bucket load.

The heist itself is partly interesting, pulled off by readily-available tech. Nothing fancy or audacious, which makes me think that the screenplay is deliberately keeping things simple because the premise is centered around women.

Some pieces work, and Bonham Carter – always a delight when she’s playing kooky characters – makes her scenes stand out. Otherwise, it’s basically the same ol’ same ol’.•