The “Ocean” heist films first graced the screen in 1960; the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr.) had the time of their lives as thieving renegades; “Ocean’s 11” through 13, 2001-2007 with hunky, handsome George Clooney as “Danny Ocean” the franchise desperately strove to cleverly surpass the preceding films; hence in the MeToo era, director Gary Ross passes the heisting trophy to women, allowing them the same creative inventiveness as their male forefathers, (in this case, brother); Sandra Bullock is “Debbi Ocean”, sister of the departed Danny, after five years as an inmate of the penal system has her own pilfering plan, a magnificent, monumental, orchestrated theft at the annual Metropolitan Museum Gala, held the first Monday in May.
Bullock is the reason to see this film; her steely maturity as an actor is at its pinnacle, her assuredness as a menacing force, focusing on a plan formulated in solitary confinement, suffering no fools, her intelligence gifts Debbi the power of conniving conviction; as nerve-wracking, tension-taunting as the plan is, there is never a doubt that success will elude her.
A fine supporting cast: Cate Blanchette, “Lou”, tomboyish, motorcyclist, with brains; Rihanna, “Nine Ball” eerily sagacious, single-minded computer genius; Helena Bonham Carter, perpetually cast as the slightly stoned, off-kilter, dingbat, designer, “Rose”; scene-stealer, Anne Hathaway, lushly, luminously lovely “Daphne”, proves to be the queen of duplicity.
“Ocean’s 8” is fun, primarily because of the capable, seasoned cast, innovative, imaginative twists, but the genre has been over-exposed, surprising expectations have been copiously met; heart-palpating titillation, replaced by a satisfying, been-there ennui. Exiting, nostalgically longing for the electrifying thrills of “The Sting”, “A Fish Called Wanda”, “The Italian Job” even “Ocean’s 11”.