“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)

MOVIE REVIEW: “Ocean’s Eleven” stars George Clooney (Fantastic Mr. Fox, O Brother Where Art Thou?), Brad Pitt (World War Z, Fight Club), Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity, Good Will Hunting), Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Erin Brockovich), Bernie Mac (The Bernie Mac Show [TV series], Bad Santa), Elliott Gould (MASH [1970], The Long Goodbye), Don Cheadle (Avengers: Infinity War, Hotel Rwanda), Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea, Gone Baby Gone), Scott Caan (Gone in 60 Seconds [2000], Varsity Blues), Eddie Jemison (Waitress, The Punisher [2004]), Carl Reiner (The Jerk, The Dick Van Dyke Show [TV series]), Shaobo Qin, and Andy Garcia (The Godfather: Part III, The Lost City). It is directed by Steven Soderbergh (No Sudden Move, The Limey), with the screenplay being written by Ted Griffin (Matchstick Men, Tower Heist).

After being released from prison, Danny Ocean (Clooney) puts together a team to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

It’s never a wise decision to watch a movie when you aren’t in the mood. Such is the case with 2001’s “Ocean’s Eleven.” I debated whether to review this one, but since I am trying to meet a goal of watching at least 12 movies a month (I’ll be making a post about that soon), all films are up for analysis. My girlfriend wanted to see this star-studded heist caper and I couldn’t say “no” (well… I didn’t want to).

I’ve realized that heist flicks don’t really please me. When you’ve seen one, you’ve kinda seen them all. But what makes them stand-out amongst each other are the performances and style. Such is the case with “Ocean’s Eleven,” as it is a very well-made feature by one Steven Soderbergh. He pulled together a great team for this one, boasting some of the biggest, freshest names of Hollywood at the time (how in the world they managed to get all of them in the same film is beyond me). The star power alone should attract you to this.

With its large ensemble and sprawling landscape, this could’ve easily been a wash of a feature. Characters could be underdeveloped and the overall style-over-substance could tale precedence. However, Soderbergh tiptoes the line well. We’re anchored by Clooney’s Danny Ocean, who has a more personal stake in the heist than the rest of the team. It’s simple (isn’t all romance?) and gives some heart to the otherwise beat-for-beat genre popcorn (what does that mean? I have no idea haha). Obviously, most characters won’t be as developed and serve as mere means of humor or entertainment, but what do you expect?

The style sells this feature. It pops to the score by David Holmes (pure heist rhythm) and is cut in a way that keeps things fresh. Though it plays into the usual tropes of heist flicks, it gives a show. I enjoyed quite a few moments from this, mainly whenever the actors can showcase their wit and charm. Amongst my favorites include Clooney, Carl Reiner (a legend), and Elliott Gould. And who could forget the always eating Brad Pitt? Everyone works to the machine that is “Ocean’s Eleven,” which blends in such a way that’s like music.

Of course, I’m giving it a ton of credit beyond what my reaction was. Because I’m not the biggest fan of the heist genre, I wasn’t as enthralled at this as I expect others were. It’s a terrifically made movie, that’s for darn sure. But I wasn’t tense, nor on the edge of my seat. I didn’t hold my breath wondering if our crooks would get out of this one rich. I knew they would succeed. And while that is to be expected… I kind of wish I rode the wave. I mean, I do with the “Mission: Impossible” features, even though they have their own tropes (expect a car chase, expect a good guy to double cross).

At the end of the day, I respect “Ocean’s Eleven” (hence the rather great score). I’m sure if I caught it on a good day, it would be all the more sensational. Clearly, it’s a well-made movie on its own. If you are into the heist genre and haven’t seen it, I know for a fact you’ll dig it. And for those who aren’t too keen on that genre, you may be more tired. FINAL SCORE: 87%= Juicy Popcorn

Here is the trailer:

One response to ““Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)

  1. Pingback: January Movie Rankings | Juicy Reviews·

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