Directed by Gary Ross, the movie is gifted with a strong all-star female cast led by Sandra Bullock (leftmost) as Debbie Ocean, sister of the now deceased Danny (George Clooney), who was such an integral part of the three heist caper Ocean’s directed by Steven Soderbergh.
An enjoyable and scenic route journey
Philip Cu Unjieng (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2018 - 12:00am

Film review: Ocean's 8

MANILA, Philippines — The women-oriented reboot of historically popular films has been going on for some time now, even predating the #MeToo movement that recently swept Hollywood and the entire film industry. Ghostbusters being a recent example of how producers will take an old proven formula, and give it a new shine by converting the cast into all-women. And now we have Ocean’s 8, directed by Gary Ross, and gifted with a strong all-star female cast led by Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of the now deceased Danny (George Clooney), who was such an integral part of the three heist caper Ocean’s directed by Steven Soderbergh.

With a high gloss and eager to please attitude, Ocean’s 8 is about Debbie assembling a crew to rob the legendary Cartier Toussaint diamond necklace while it’s worn by celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Gala in New York. In order to achieve this, Debbie recruits old confidante Lou (Cate Blanchett), fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), jewelry maker Amita (comedienne Mindy Kaling), suburban Mom and hoarder Tammy (Sarah Poulson), street thief Constance (Awkwafina) and tech genius Nine Ball (Rihanna). There are men in the cast, but they’re generally pawns or devices to further the plot. And given that the central scenes happen during the Gala, there are cameos from the fashion, modeling, sports and celebrity world — look out for the likes of Anna Wintour, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Kardashian, Katie Holmes, Zac Posen, Alexander Wang and the Jenner sisters. 

With panache and gloss, the movie chugs along in a paint-by-numbers manner enlivened by the effective onscreen cast chemistry. Little shafts of brilliance happen on a sidebar basis, as when we have a dating app being discussed. And the most entertaining cameo happens when someone from the earlier Ocean’s is invited to help during the Gala. What the screenplay doesn’t provide though, is nail-biting tension or moments of real jeopardy for the success of the caper. Twists and stumbling blocks happen, but they’re negotiated and managed in too breezy a manner.

Sandra is effective as Debbie, even utilizing her real-life German ancestry to provide comic relief. And even if their scenes are minimal, Kaling and Awkwafina make the most of their moments. It’s just that the feeling we get is being on a pleasant, steady drive along a modern Highway, when we actually wanted hairpin curves, potholes and losing your brakes to achieve a higher sense of tension and danger. When a rollercoaster is what the doctor should have prescribed, it’s like we’re on a Disney ride. 

So great chemistry from the cast, but somewhat lacking in terms of spirit of adventure. I’m just hoping we don’t see some all-women reboot of The Magnificent 7. Ocean’s 8 is an enjoyable, scenic route journey.

OCEAN'S 8
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