Debbie Ocean gathers an all-female crew to attempt an impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala.
There is a rug under Ocean’s 8 at all times: it just lies there, and in the audience’s seat, we thoroughly anticipate that final yank out from under us. Do we know everything we can know about the score? Are these women—thieves and other various types of crooks, to be sure—as trustworthy as can possibly be?And then the credits roll, and somehow we’re left realizing that everything’s gone, in most ways, pretty smoothly. Ocean’s 8 more or less stays true to the stylistics of director Steven Soderbergh’s contribution to the caper flick. It’s light on its feet, pretty sharp, has a lot of handsome people to look at, and isn’t too fussy about the twists and turns—if any exist. In fact, the attention from the actors is often shifted to just how the heist runs. There is a straightforwardness about its plot and a knowingness to cut to the chase when that’s really all the audience needs. But enough about the older, male-driven version; 8‘s feminine contribution only copies some of these sensibilities in filmmaking style. It is, again, straightforward in most ways. The first act revolves around building the sting—and second about its execution. And that is all. In a franchise heavily dominated by men, albeit a talented cast of men, the film celebrates how a female-driven cast can deliver this type of entertainment equally well. Broadly, it’s an important time in Hollywood blockbusters to avoid shifting female characters into mere supportive roles and types. While maybe the film doesn’t offer a whole lot that is new or fresh, the joy in the film is simply seeing this cast (Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulsen, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway—such a spectrum of artists!) chew scenery together. Not the most memorable, but good fun for its runtime. The film, however, is not Dove-Approved due to some minor language and drug/alcohol use onscreen.