Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Al Pacino. Rated PG.
It’s another boys’ night out in Ocean’s Thirteen, although it’s hard to imagine too many viewers feeling left out of a clubhouse founded by bounders that are this roguishly charming.
As before, the freewheeling gang is led by Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan, criminals so smoothly in sync they finish each other’s sentences. Consequently, as played by George Clooney and Brad Pitt, respectively, they get to riff on some of their own personal foibles and predilections without revealing too much—mainly because they rarely finish their sentences. In any case, when not watching Oprah or reminiscing about the Vegas that used to be, they are busy pushing forward an amazingly complicated plot involving a revenge job on behalf of mentor Reuben (Elliott Gould), who has just been screwed out of a huge hotel-casino deal led by Al Pacino’s Willie Bank.
Danny, Ryan, and high-strung Linus (Matt Damon) again must marshal help from their pals, including Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Eddie Jemison, Carl Reiner, and Shaobo Qin as competent specialists, and Casey Affleck and Scott Caan as versatiles who can do just about anything except stop fighting each other. Also on board is Eddie Izzard as a high-tech wiz or something—actually, I was never quite sure why they hired him, other than the fact that he makes expository dialogue so much more entertaining—and Andy Garcia (the other Pacino) as a former enemy now brought in to help bankroll a spectacularly expensive venture. Hey, let’s see you try to start your own earthquake for under $10 million!
Series director Steven Soderbergh, working from a script by Brian Koppelman and David Levien (who also wrote the gambling-scam movie Rounders), here recaptures the insouciant rat-pack spirit that made his initial remake of Ocean’s Eleven so enjoyable—and which was notably missing from its sequel, Ocean’s Twelve. In fact, despite the luxurious budget—with lots of elaborate, deliciously designed sound-stage shots married to fancy wipes, abrupt colour changes, and lots of funky music from retro master David Holmes—the movie is close in its looseness to Out of Sight, Soderbergh’s first trip into genre territory.
At almost two hours, the movie is a bit long for a detailed study of nothing in particular (and you have to wonder what was in the nine minutes that got left behind in Cannes). But the old-school feel, plus all that in-joke- and shorthand-filled banter, make the film a blast even for viewers not paying that much attention to the story—or, as the boys might put it, pulling an Alberto Gonzales.