Ocean's Eleven

Details & Information from IMDB

Genre Crime
Year 2001
Duration 116 min
Rating 7.5 out of 10
Description: Danny Ocean is a thief who has just been paroled from prison. He seeks out his partner, Rusty and he has a job. And it is to rob the vault that houses the cash of three casinos in Las Vegas. And he plans to rob it on a night when 150 million is in it. So they recruit nine guys and they begin to put Ocean's plan in motion. Everything is going well until Rusty discovers that Ocean's ex-wife, Tess is the main squeeze of Terry Benedict the (ruthless) owner of the casinos. Rusty asks him what is he going to do if he has to choose. But Ocean says that if his plan goes smoothly, he is going to be able to have his cake and eat it.
Comments: Throughout the past 6 months, heist films have been protruding our screens at a sporadic rate. 'The Score' starring Robert De Niro was one of the first out the gate last July, while David Mamet's highly praised 'Heist' was just released last month. Now, the Holiday season plays host to one of the most enjoyable films this year 'Ocean's 11'. Steven 'Do No Harm' Soderbergh's latest opus in a nutshell is absolutely fantastic. Watching the film I could see Warner Bros. tagging the lines for upcoming promos from all the reviews such as 'the most fun you'll have at the movies' and 'the year's best film'. For once, I would agree with those promos. This is an absolute great piece of film. That is not to say that Soderbergh has not included a couple of clichéd crowd pleasing segments, but that takes hardly anything away from a superbly acted, written and directed film. George Clooney stars as Danny Ocean, who after just released from prison plans to concoct a daring caper to rob 3 Casinos for more than 150$ Million in cold cash. He therefore sets out to recruit, train and execute the plan which these three verbs respectively describing each of the film's three acts. First for recruitment is Brad Pitt who plays Dusty Ryan, a food-obsessed criminal who leads the plan with Clooney as they recruit Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck and many more. Hence the title; 'Ocean's 11'. With his newest film, Soderbergh seems to return to his roots with his 'Out Of Sight' style he created when Jennifer Lopez and Clooney collaborated on that film in 1998. From the opening sequence when the camera tracks Clooney out of the prison gates, to the cutthroat dialogue in the same vein as 'out of Sight', I knew Soderbergh was onto something. The result is a great, fun, fast paced film that moves so fast at some parts that if you blink, you'll miss it. The opening 20 minutes have Danny and Rusty recruiting all over the U.S. with great scenes that prove to be the some of most memorable. Who can forget Elliot Gould's character Rubin Tischikoff as he tries to talk the men out of the heist by providing examples of the most successful Casino heists ever achieved - which turned out all to be unsuccessful. Those who saw the film know that the aforementioned scene is just one of the many scenes that work. If we look at the film in a dissecting fashion, we can clearly see that the film works on many levels. The first act quickly, easily and 'non-challantly' introduces us to our characters in a subtle detailed manner while simultaneously mocking the teen cover boys acting industry. Pitt is first approached from Clooney while he teaches teen stars on how to play cards. None other than Joshua Jackson, Holly Marie Combs and Topher Grace appear in this scene. While the stars' presence can actually detract from what is another great scene in the film, just when you finish digesting that memorable scene, the film takes off a mere minutes after it starts with the recruitment of the Danny's 11 man-crew.

The 'training' act explores several sub plots including the introduction of the Julia Roberts character Tess Ocean. She plays Ocean's ex-wife who is currently dating one of the Casino owners they are trying to rob. The incredibly underrated Andy Garcia plays the film's unconformist villain with suave sophistication who seems to convey the notion of fear with his droopy-eyed close ups. Tense scenes between Garcia and Clooney while rare, are simply a treat to watch. Furthermore, romantics will certainly enjoy the love subplot that is truly predictable that as clichéd as it is, is still effective as only Soderbergh can create it to be.

The third act is completely mind-blowing as the 'execution' of the robbery is filmed in such a dizzying, comedic yet suspenseful manner that makes this film stick out from all the other heist movies. The film's robbery sequence set during a Lennox Lewis fight is epic, grand and deserves to be viewed more than once to take it all in. While some might say the film ends in a clichéd, predictable ending; I ask you, what did you expect? You are not going to get a sad ending with one of the best ensemble casts ever assembled for a motion picture. Furthermore, as a testament to Soderbergh's craftiness; witness the second to last closing scene. After all the frenzy, after all the comedy, and after all the intensity, Soderbergh assembles his cast right in front of the casino. The whole crew watches in a perverted sense of pride and accomplishment as they study the Casinos they just robbed with nostalgic music playing in the background; glamorizing their illegalities as only pure Hollywood magic can. They all take one last look at the Casinos, and slowly walk away one by one, each with a gaze of joy as they separate themselves from the 'job'. Truly an incredible scene that I played back in my mind repeatedly while writing this review, that one scene captures the true essence of the film. It still has to be seen as to whether or not any other film this year will come close to its' suaveness, its' look, its' style or its' satisfying effect it gives you when exiting the theatre. Pardon my colloquialism, but this film was damn cool. Notable mentions include the outstanding wardrobe. Seems as if Soderbergh simply wanted to make a film, put his actors in lavish sets and dress them up as good as he can. While some costumes may be outlandish to fit the character, Pitt's and Clooney's are simply stunning and had me looking through my GQ when I got home. Therefore, see it on the big screen and see it more than once to take in all the great elements this absolutely fantastic film had to offer.

Giancarlo's Rating: ***1/2