Theatrical Review: Ocean's Thirteen

One of Danny Ocean’s crew, Rueben (played by Elliot Gould) has decided that pulling off capers just isn’t for him any more and he wants to take his money and open up the most extravagant casino on the Las Vegas strip. Rueben, against everyone else’s advice, partners up with a slick and sleazy businessman name Willie Bank, who quickly screws Reuben out of the entire deal, causing him a heart attack. Danny Ocean, Rusty, Linus and the rest of the crew are looking for revenge and they devise a very complex scheme in which to take Willie Bank down…

… and that’s the premise for Ocean’s Thirteen the latest film from todays Scorsese and DeNiro, Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney. And personally, I think it’s fun as hell…

Soderbergh is, at least in my eyes, one of the most talented filmmakers out there today, always inventive and always stylish, he makes stuff that for me anyway, is always highly watchable, and with the case of the Ocean’s movies, re-watchable. His scenes and set-ups are just extremely well-devised and as is the case with these movies, that style, their wonderful music, and the high-powered cast brings in a sense of “Hollywood Cool” that I think we really haven’t had since the days of the original Ocean’s Eleven with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack.

I was watching this weekend’s Lyons and Bailes: Reel Talk on NBC (which if you’ve never seen the show, is well worth catching as an alternative to Ebert & Roeper- This shows late night in the wee small ones on Saturday and Sunday mornings and stars film critics Jeffrey Lyons and Allison Bailes, Bailes getting my pick as the sexy movie reviewer out there- not just attractive, but she knows her stuff… but I digress), and they didn’t recommend the film because they just saw it as this caper thing with no real character development. Well, I don’t think you go to see a movie like this looking for character development, or at least I don’t… I definitely go for the “cool” factor of the film and watching Steven Soderbergh weave his film-making magic and I think if you know that before you go in, then you’ll probably be entertained along the way.

Everybody’s back for this film, George Clooney of course, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliot Gould, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin and Bernie Mac all reprise their parts as the eleven. Even Andy Garcia returns in a nice little turn of events, as does Vincent Cassel from Ocean’s Twelve, along with Eddie Izzard too. The only people not in this film are Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and I was halfway expecting them to turn up by the film’s end, but it didn’t happen. Joining this cast are the scenery-chewing Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin who as far as I’m concerned is still hot as hell. Pacino’s having a lot of fun here, that’s pretty evident on-screen- oh, this film hardly pushes him in anyway, but he’s still fun to watch.

Yep, it’s a convoluted plan, I’ll give you that, but it just didn’t matter to me, I still thought it was easy to follow and a lot of fun to watch, and there’s some inspired moments along the way, including a bit where Danny is caught getting involved while watching an episode of Oprah that has a tremendous pay-off by the film’s end. This is subtly fun stuff, and so far for me, the first of this summer’s Hollywood sequels to really give me a totally satisfying film experience. If you like the first two movies, I’d certainly recommend this one as well, and if you’re a fan of Steven Soderbergh, don’t even give it a second thought…

About Darren Goodhart

Darren Goodhart is a 44-year old St. Louis-based Graphic Designer and Illustrator (and former comic book artist) who's been seeing movies all his life, but on an almost weekly basis in theatres for the last 20 years and owns nearly 1,000 DVDs for his home theatre. He's learned a lot about film over the 20 year period, and has taken his appreciation beyond the mainstream. His favorite types of film are mostly genre entertainment, but he also enjoys a wide range of drama, action and cult-y stuff from around the world, and is currently re-discovering a love affair with lower budget exploitation and genre films from the 70s and early 80s. He doesn't try to just dismiss any film, but if there's a bias against one, he'll certainly tell you that in the space of his reviews.

13. June 2007 by Darren Goodhart
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