The phenomenally versatile Steven Soderbergh returns with the celebrity baggage of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon for the third Ocean movie. Where Ocean’s Eleven was a slick, intelligent, and almost too clever Vegas heist movie, Ocean’s Twelve was a glossy, OTT, plotless film which documented a bunch of celebrities having fun in ravishing European settings.
This time, it’s back to Vegas, but none of Twelve’s gloss has been lost (though quite a bit of taste has, but then, this is Vegas). Uber-financier Reuben (Elliott Gould) is ripped off by ruthless casino shark William Bank (Al Pacino), causing him to suffer a heart attack, and setting the rest of the gang on Bank’s trail. Their master plan is to penetrate Bank’s casino and load all the games against the casino. There are plenty of clever ruses and gadgets, as well as a few hilarious moments (for example, Matt Damon’s prosthetic-nosed seduction of Bank’s hard-as-nails right hand woman).
Thankfully, the third time round, Soderbergh has discarded starved marionette Julia Roberts, and for the most part cut the self-indulgent celebrity element from the film. Ocean’s Thirteen is an eminently watchable film, but it has to be said that there is little that is original about it. Its plot is less engaging, complex, and suspenseful than that of Eleven, something not that forgivable in a sequel. For those who liked the style of the first film, Ocean’s Thirteen will please. For those who liked Eleven for its originality and smartness, it may disappoint.
Anyway… If you do want to see the best film in which George Clooney and Don Cheadle play thieves, check out Soderbergh’s supremely cool sleeper hit Out of Sight. Gorgeously shot in deep, warm hues of brown and orange, and later in clear, cold, liquid blues and greens, it features an intriguingly non-linear narrative structure and quite possibly the best chemistry between the leads that I have ever seen.