Ocean's 8 movie review: Not a Ghostbusters-like disaster but has little to offer beyond visual finery

Mihir Fadnavis

June 22, 2018 08:22:37 IST

3/5

There is such a thing as ‘safe filmmaking’ and Ocean's 8 is pretty much the new brand ambassador of this kind of cinema. It does not necessarily mean that it is a bad film – it is in fact fairly entertaining – but also predictable and formulaic. One wishes it were more than just that considering its sprawling cast and franchise potential.  

A still from Ocean's 8/Image from YouTube.

A still from Ocean's 8/Image from YouTube.

The focus this time shits to Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) who is recently out of prison and is hungry for a new heist. She reconnects with her old pal Lou (Cate Blanchett) and forms a new team featuring Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), tech expert Nine Ball (Rihanna), Constance (Awkwafina), Tammy (Sarah Paulson) and Amita (Mindy Kaling). The plan this time is to steal a necklace that is worth hundreds of millions at a ceremony and use the dumb-as-nails ceremony host Daphne (Anne Hathaway) to do so.

Now, if you are in the mood for a movie with glittering stars hurling cracking fifty one-liners a minute, you are going to dig Oceans 8. The franchise has never really been about substance so if it is style that you are looking for, this film has got you covered. Every single scene in the film is straight out of a Gucci commercial complete with luxurious sets and red carpet-worthy costumes. There is a lot of take in visually as director Gary Ross (taking over from Steven Soderbergh) pretty much bombards you with playful and cool-looking moments, and letting his gigantic female cast have fun. It is easy to be swept away by the sheer visual finery and let the movie stars prove to you over and over again how it is to be a movie star. There are of course subtle clues to connections with the ‘male universe’ that Soderbergh built and die hard fans of the series would probably appreciate the Easter Eggs.

On the downside, the story does not really offer any big twists or turns – particularly for those accustomed to watching heist movies. There is one big reveal that occurs halfway into the film but if you have seen any of the promotional material you would have to have a lobotomy to not see this twist coming. The screenplay, co-written by Ross, also does not have the conversational panache of the original three movies; there was something charming about the wiseass-ness of the guys in the earlier movies – the women in this film, although lovely, are not quite as magnetic. It is probably because the people in the earlier films were mostly cast against their type while here the women play precisely the roles you expect them to. The lack of surprises grates particularly in the third act when you expect things to go crazy but it all ends on a fairly subdued and anticipated manner.   

It is not clear where the Ocean's series heads from here; this is not the feminist disaster that Ghostbusters was, but it also is not a big enough success to warrant a continuation of the franchise. It is a moderately pleasing jaunt that you would not remember a day later but there was no reason why a movie with these many stars had to play so ‘safe’; it is an ironic tactic considering how many risks the women in the film take to achieve the impossible.

Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 08:22 AM