|Star:||George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon|
|Cert / Year:||12 - PG13 / 2001|
Danny Ocean has just got out of jail, and he has only one thing on his mind. He is planning to do what no one has every done before, and that is rob a casino in Las Vegas. In fact he is going to rob the vault of the casino that holds the money of three casinos, a task which is viewed as impossible. To stand any chance he first has to convince his partner Rusty Ryan that not only that he has a plan to do it, but that he is not pulling this job just to get his estranged wife back. Having done this he is going to have to assemble the rest of the eleven-man crew, eleven of the best thieves in the business.
So I admit I'm not a big fan of big name movies and especially those starring Julia Roberts. I mean it usually becomes more about the names than the film. This is why I was pleasantly surprised when this movie turned out to be excellent; in fact it's the best robbery movie since Sneakers.
The reason; well it's an old fashioned heist film. None of this blood soaked, flashback ridden, full of swearing post Tarrantino rubbish. This is a straightforward plan the job, do the job sort of film, and compared the prevalent Tarrantinoesque fair is like a welcome breath of fresh air. Of course the reason for this is that it's a remake of the original 1960 brat pack film. I have gone on record in the past with regard to my opinion of remakes, and not having seen the original yet I can't really comment on whether this it worse or better. However what I can say is that this is an excellent film in its own right.
The script is fantastic, fast paced and above all funny. The previously mentioned lack of violence is really allows the film to concentrate on what is important the heist. There really aren't any sub-plots to confuse and detract from the main story and the characters are introduced during the planning of the job. This simplification of plot vastly improves the pace and ensures you are enthralled (in many respects the film is very similar to the classic The Italian Job). The humour is not as gratuitous as Sneakers but it flows throughout the movie and adds to the cool factor. Yes the cool factor is important, this film is slick and brilliantly planned so that method of the heist is gradually revealed in the coolest possible way. You will be impressed as well as entertained with the effortless perfection of the plan.
Unleash the acting heavy weights then. George Clooney is now major box office and in each movie I see him in he gets better. Here he is cast perfectly as Danny Ocean the man with a plan. Brad Pitt puts in his best performance since Twelve Monkeys and is perfect as Ocean's partner Rusty Ryan. Julia Roberts (who personally I can't stand, due to her plain looks and limited ability) surprised me in the small role of Danny's ex-wife, she really was very good. The rest of the cast are uniformly good with Matt Damon, Elliot Gould and Carl Reiner (Rob Reiner's Dad!) being outstanding. My only concern is Don Cheadle who is good but has the worst English accent since Dick Van Dyke (why the hell not employ an Englishman).
Steven Soderbergh directs this film with a flare that really adds to the action. I know I've been critical in the past for his use of clever camera techniques (Traffic), and this just goes to show if he plays it straight how much better the film is.
So great cast, good direction and a classic heist. This is a film you just can't go wrong with. It's funny and entertaining with plenty of edge of seat tension. It has it's high tech moments and its Mission Impossible battling the alarm type thrills. It far exceeds many of it recent predecessors like Entrapment and deserves attention without distraction from the original. Heists don't get much bigger or better than this.