Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ocean's Eleven

Movie Name: Ocean's Eleven
Year of Release: 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Bernie Mac
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Prolific director Steven Soderbergh followed his successful year (2000, where he won the Oscar for best director, for "Traffic"), by tackling a remake of the Lewis Milestone film of 1960, "Ocean's Eleven", which featured the iconic members of the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. , Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop). The film focuses on Danny Ocean, who following his release from prison, reunites with his best friend Rusty Ryan. They both go to Las Vegas, to prepare for a coup that involves robbing three of the biggest casinos in the area. Danny in particular wants to tackle those three casinos, since they're all owned by Terry Benedict, who is currently dating his ex-wife Tess. Danny and Rusty go about recruiting a team of people they believe can make the whole heist go smoothly.
Steven Soderbergh is one of the most interesting directors working in Hollywood currently. He has the deftness of being able to combine a more conceptual and artistic vein, with a commercial knack, which makes his films an interesting hybrid. If some of his earlier work was a bit more esoteric (such as the underrated "Kafka"), following "Out of Sight", he started a series of films that mixed some experimentalism with known genres, something that "Ocean's Eleven" is a perfect example of. The film exhibits an ease and flow to itself - it's smart and entertaining, but also very humorous. It's a film that is aware of its concept, with an impeccable production team, making the set pieces flow seamlessly (and Steven Soderbergh is usually also responsible for the cinematography of his features). It doesn't take itself seriously, and the film is more successful for it. The entire cast has a great chemistry and complicity, something that makes the film even furthermore entertaining. A good film from a great director, always worth watching.