• Plaban Bagchi

Oceans 11 Film Review

Clooney and others?


Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writers: George C. Johnson, Jack Golden Russell

Stars: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts




Ok. I am very hard to impress when it comes to heist/con/crime films. You can go ahead and be a hard core fan and troll me for saying, who the fuck are you and Steven Soderbergh is not making films to impress you. Friend, hold my pen and hear me out. I get it. I am too late for the party. I do not know how relevant and mind blowing this was when it came out. But dude! This film came out in 2001. I mean I don't want to make a list here but The Usual Suspects came out in 1995. Or even if we take Catch me if you Can (Yes! 2002; yes biographical, but read: Sub-genre), the thing about these two mentions of mine is, that even though these films have big names, their storytelling, not their actors, is the propeller of the film.


Hear me out. I never got the George Clooney craze. After this, I get it. I never thought I could watch anyone outshine Brad Pitt or Matt Damon. But such amazing is his star power, that none of the boys stand a chance in front of him. Sometimes, not even Roberts. So I get why Clooney is Ocean and not any one else. But in the end, that's what it is. Clooney with his awesome plan, which quite frankly, I didn’t find as awesome as The Usual Suspects. Clooney first, Plot second. 


Also, in any good heist movie, there has to be a formidable force stopping the heist. I was not quite satisfied with the casino's might. I am sorry. The film did nothing but narrate the toughness of the casino. I would have liked a little (niche carving sort of) demonstration of the Casino’s big dark underbelly. The portrayal of this issue was just garden variety. Nothing that made me extra scared for the boys.

Another thing missing from the plot to make it more enticing is the lack of a major failure. Ya ya. Ocean is fired from the job but that was all a test. This is bitter sweet enjoyment of conflicting characters in conflicting situations. Both parties fail. Both parties win. But you are always anticipating. Always working. Always conflicted. Who should win? Who should loose? Why am I rooting for the bad guy? Is he the bad guy? It makes the experience so thrilling. But here the bad guy has the money, the gun and the girl. You have been told to dislike him. The gang never looses. They only, always and always win. 



I am sorry. That just makes the film average for me. There is no primal conflict. It has the potential for it. But they never capitalise on it. All it capitalises on is Clooney! But I could be considered unfair. Why am I pitting it against con films when its a heist film? Why am I pitting it against a crime film when it is a heist film. It is commercial cinema, n to artsy cinema. Why am I comparing a commercial, multi starrer, typical Hollywood film with commercially and critically acclaimed cinema.  How can I compare this to Spielberg? Exactly my point. Sorry. its 50/100 for me. Ill still be watching the rest because I need to prep my all girls heist movie.



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