Release date: 18th June 2018/Watch the trailer here
Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy of heist movies is rebooted by Ocean’s 8, a film which this time is directed by Gary Ross (best known for The Hunger Games) and with Clooney, Damon, Pitt and co. having been replaced by an all-female cast, led by Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of Danny and, at the start of the movie, recently paroled from prison. Not quite ready to leave behind her life of crime, Debbie hunts down her former partner Lou (Cate Blanchett), and convinces her to join the heist that Debbie has been planning during her five-year sentence. Debbie and Lou quickly assemble the rest of their team: disgraced and indebted fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), jewellery maker Amita (Mindy Kaling), skilled hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), street hustler and pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), and Tammy (Sarah Paulson), a friend of Debbie’s who has been secretly selling stolen goods out of the garage of her family’s home.
The heist in question involves stealing the Toussaint, a Cartier diamond necklace worth $150 million, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Met Gala. In order to do so, Debbie plans to use the gala’s co-host, famous actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), as an unwitting mule who’ll wear the necklace to the Met Gala, leaving it free for Debbie and her team to steal.
Ocean’s 8 is, first and foremost, fun. Those hoping for it to be much more than that will ultimately be left disappointed, but for those who simply want to watch an all-star cast steal diamonds while looking fabulous, there’s a lot to be enjoyed here. Of course, it’s a film that wouldn’t be half as enjoyable without the aforementioned cast – and while some have far better roles than others (Hathaway gives the film’s standout performance by a mile, whereas Blanchett is handed an underwritten character and left with little to do), any moment where a combination of the eight share the screen is worth the price of a ticket for the chemistry alone – not to mention how refreshing (and ridiculously rare) it is to watch a film with a predominantly female cast in which they all happen to get along with each other.
Fashion lovers will have a ball (pun absolutely intended) with Ocean’s 8, too. Impeccable costume design by Sarah Edwards, more celebrity cameos than you can count on both hands, and of course the film’s illustrious setting – which acts as an inspired way to liven up the heist movie genre – combine to make for a film that is every bit as stylish as the Met Gala attendees themselves.
Unfortunately, however, there are moments when Ocean’s 8 can’t help but feel a little like a wasted opportunity. It could have been sharper, it could have been funnier, it could have been smarter – and while it’s perfectly entertaining, the fact that it’s rarely anything more than that means it’s a lot more forgettable than a movie with a cast as diverse and talented as this one deserves to be.
Furthermore, frustratingly for a heist film there’s also never a sense that any of the eight are ever in real danger, and the film entirely lacks in tension as a result. The heist itself should have been the most entertaining portion of the movie, but since very little seems to ever go wrong for Debbie and her team, it soon becomes clear that Ocean’s 8 is instead at its best when introducing its characters and allowing them to interact with each other, as opposed to stealing diamonds from around the neck of a wealthy celebrity.
At this point, Ocean’s 9 feels like more of an inevitability than a possibility – but it will be this cast and this set of likeable characters that guarantees audiences will want to see it, rather than the potential of another heist that will undoubtedly go far too smoothly for all involved. Whether or not the sheer charisma of the cast alone will be enough to carry a sequel remains to be seen – but for now, they’ve just about pulled it off, and clearly had a lot of fun while doing so.