Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ocean's 13


Neither Ocean's 11 nor Ocean's 12 can be considered real heist movies(like Rififi or even Heist). They were simply excuses to get some big stars together and let them be cool and have fun while trading quips. The actual heists were almost afterthoughts. Ocean's 13 continues this tradition. While the lack of freshness in seeing the stars together prevents it from being as much fun as Ocean's 11, it is definitely a big step up from Ocean's 12.

This time around, the gang's goal is revenge. When ruthless Willy Bank(Al Pacino) dupes Reuben out of the partnership in his new Las Vegas casino, Reuben has a heart attack. So Ocean(George Clooney), Rusty(Brad Pitt), Linus(Matt Damon) and the rest of the group plan to make Bank lose a lot of money the night he opens his casino. Financial constraints force them to turn to Terry(Andy Garcia) for help and he agrees, but for a big fee.

One of the most frustrating aspects of Ocean's 12(and to a much lesser extent, Ocean's 11 too) was that the planning the team did for the major part of the movie was essentially just to set up a red herring. The elaborate plan that was put in motion eventually turned out to be a distraction while the main theft involved something as simple - and as disappointing - as switching backpacks in a train. But there are no such misdirections in Ocean's 13. All the planning is really in service of the big heist and that results in a sense of satisfaction as we see the plan go into action.

The things the gang puts in place for the eventual heist to work are preposterous and implausible, many of the things(like finding insiders in Pacino's casino) happen too conveniently and there is no suspense during any part of the actual heist. But the movie is light-hearted and fun. The stars, especially the big 3, have a lot of screen presence and charisma and carry the movie along effortlessly, usually with just their smiles and expressions. Many of the one-liners and situations are funny and keep us smiling. The heist being good is just icing on the cake.

But after the over-the-top setup, the actual heist itself isn't anticlimactic and is a delight. Since the target is a bad guy who we've come to hate rather than some faceless millionaire, the payoff is immensely satisfying. There is also the usual elation as we see the pieces of the plan fall into place. Like in other movies in this genre, we've been given only peeks at the plan during the preparation stage and it is fun watching things come together as the plan is put into motion.

The movie has too many stars for any one of them to make an impression and they all coast along on their familiarity and reputations. Clooney and Pitt as usual get the most screen time and their short, snappy conversations are quite funny. Damon gets the most laughs with his usual routine of "I want to be taken more seriously". Pacino is his usual self but Ellen Barkin seems a little too old for her role.

7 Comments:

At 2:38 AM, Blogger Kumar said...

Bringing in a drill machine that drilled from the french side of the chunnel into Las Vegas and to top it of artificially simulate an earthquake by drilling in a city thats almost always awake! hmmmmm but then even if its over the top but is done in STYLE its palatable. A case in point....SUPERSTAR

 
At 7:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the "Ocean's" series is just an excuse for the boys to get together and party!

Kumar

 
At 8:11 AM, Anonymous Ram said...

yeah, this is just totally, totally disposable entertainment...a fun experience where you dont have to get too involved. but that said, i'm not quite sure i got my money's worth in this movie. there's only so much that stars can do with one-dimensional characters. the heist to me wasnt all that fun. "the actual heist itself isn't anticlimactic and is a delight" - I wasnt really all that impressed. "11" was much better...one of my fav heist sequences is the final sequence of "the score." this one just didnt get my pulse racing...

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous vidhya said...

Last friday saw us going for Oceans' 13 - no tix so we zoomed off for Cheeni kum. It makes a very interesting watch though i went in with huge negative thoughts read "A 64 and a 34..huh!!! Men!!!". Surprise..It was a very witty, intelligent movie not to be missed.

Comment i heard in the interval made the trip well worth it. - South Indian movie banata hai toh accha hi hoga :)

 
At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"They were simply excuses to get some big stars together and let them be cool"

I wonder where the "Dhoom" movies got their "inspiration" from.

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger srivatsan said...

Good to see ppl accept that there so called Hollywood Masalas too :)

When Superstar does the same, don't complain :-}

 
At 10:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi BB,

Nice writeup, as always...

out of topic - do you know where thalaivar's shivaji is running in the bay area...was quite disappointe dto see that naz8 and imc6 did not carr ythe movie...

thanks, ds

 

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