Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Ocean's Eleven

Year: 2001
Dir: Steven Soderbergh
Screenplay: Ted Griffin

Stars: GEORGE CLOONEY, BRAD PITT, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Shaobo Qin, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould.

No one looks cooler in a tux than George Clooney, as he assembles his team of likely lads for what appears on the surface to be a good heist movie. The only trouble with this assumption is that you go away at the end of it all feeling like you’ve missed out on something.

The trick has always been to get your audience on the side of the bad guys, and we are right from the start. We want them to get away with it and naturally they do. Your so-called good guy is a reputed bad guy and everyone is ripping everyone off. After all, this is Vegas right? There’s a casino vault, with unbreakable security and a guy who knows a guy who knows how to break it.

We know what comes next but Clooney and the boys do it with a twist. There are funny lines, cigars, short Chinese guys and plenty of hi-tech wizardry. Julia Roberts provides the eye candy, spending most of the time walking silently around the casino in a sequin dress while Andy Garcia’s understated menace, watches the floor.

There’s a good stint by Matt Damon as Linus, the fastest draw in the west, and Brad Pitt in a silk shirt, enough said. The talents of all are on show here but sadly they’re not around long enough to satisfy as Soderbergh chooses to replace the sleaze or any true sentiment from the original with his flashy camera work.

For all the hype and homage this movie promises, we do get something out of watching Ocean’s Eleven, we’re left holding the proverbial bag, and its empty. It may be funny, slick, bang up-to-date robbery-by-numbers stuff with a five star cast, but it is definitely not a five star movie.

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