Review: Ocean’s 8

is underwhelmed by the new all-female instalment to the Ocean’s film series

Image: Warner Bros

Director: Gary Ross
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna
Length: 1hr 50m
Rating: 12A

This review may contain spoilers.

Finally, it’s here, the feminist answer to the heist genre. With a stellar cast and a huge budget, we all expected a gloriously indulgent women-empowering masterpiece. Of course, this spin off had a lot to live up to if we compare it to the even bigger originals with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. The quick-witted comedy, the sophisticated leads, and the arch-villain deserving of revenge all make for gripping watching. So there were understandably great expectations. And overall, it would be fair to say that they met them. And that at first glance, it ticks all the boxes, particularly with Bullock as criminal mastermind.

The classic shots of fast cars, glamourous fashion statements and mysterious references to past crimes committed combined with comedy provided by Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina and Sarah Paulson makes for easy viewing, and the film flows fairly smoothly as the heist plans progress. Yet I felt that the script was a bit formulaic, with the characters being archetypally cool, funnily pitiable or superficial. Kaling was just a maternally smothered jeweller, Rihanna was just an overly-relaxed hacker, and Paulson was just a nostalgic mother who longed for the good old days. The characters were decidedly one sided, and as such, even at the height of the tension, we were less invested in the turn out of the situation.

The met gala scenes were amusing yet not so much grippingly tense but predictably dramatic with the sight of a nearly vomiting Anne Hathaway seeming more ridiculous and less serious. I was pleased to see the jewels stolen and the money earned, but I didn’t feel I had to see what each character did next because each crisis seemed to have been dissolved in seconds, and afterwards the central characters went about their own very different lives. Overall, the film’s potential for developing a fun, hangout vibe for the heist-planners is underdeveloped, and despite great actors and brilliant design, the interactions are to me lacking.

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