From the depths of my drafts comes a movie review I wrote many months ago.
There was an article about Ocean’s Eight I stumbled on, which gave me a moment of thought. It stated that the lack of conflict, which some critics see as a negative about the film, actually highlights the importance of a female led film. It makes sense and I agree with that point of view… but Ocean’s Eight is still a pretty boring movie.
Now, it’s going to be a difficult review for me to write because I really did want to enjoy this film. The idea seemed great, the setting was intriguing and all the women looked stunning. On paper, and visually, Ocean’s Eight has everything going for it. But like some critics are saying, the film lacks conflict, which therefore takes away the element of thrill. And while it’s amazing to witness women pull off an impossible plan with almost no setbacks… it doesn’t justify the fact that Ocean’s Eight is a little plain and a bit dull.
Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), just like his brother, gets out from prison in the beginning of the film. She ended up there, as we find out from a very badly placed and off putting flashback in the middle of the film, by her then boyfriend Claude Becker (Richard Armitage). Nobody is there to pick her up, she has 40 dollars on her name, and yet ends up spending the night in a fancy hotel with her stolen goods, looking at her list. She has a heist planned, and she’s ready to make it happen.
She meets up with Lou (Cate Blanchett), tells her the plan, and they set it in motion. This whole process is rather dull actually. The scenes which introduce the characters are almost bland and lack character. Rihanna’s Nine Ball is apparently shy? and smokes weed. Mindy Kaling’s Amita still lives with her mother. Helena Bonham Carter is a failed yet goofy designer. Sarah Paulson is a housewife. Awkwafina is a pickpocket. Sure, it all sounds exciting but it’s not. It’s like a stereotypical spreadsheet of characters and frankly, I expected more.
Once the team is together, you immediately know that someone is missing – there are seven of them and as the title of the movie refers, there should be eight. That’s when I guessed one of the biggest plot twists of the movie and felt like I was robbed. Not sure if it was lazy writing but it wasn’t hard to put together, who was number 8. Therefore, the movie lacked a surprise element. In other words, from its characters to the heist, Ocean’s Eight offered me a well oiled machine. And watching a well oiled machine work, is frankly, dull.
There are many who state that the well oiled machine represents the power of women. We are so clever, we think everything through, etc. Sure, it’s alright to have a good plan that works, but Danny Ocean also had a good plan. Yet he also had minor setbacks. For instance, empty batteries in the switch – small yet a brilliant touch. And it’s in those setbacks that we start rooting for the characters. It was hard for me to root for Debbie, and any of the others, because it felt like they were perfect and the plan was so smooth, that they didn’t really need me for support.
Because it’s what I’m good at.
– Debbie Ocean
Another thing that bothered me a lot in Ocean’s Eight was the reasoning behind the heist. Sure, it was money, that is always the reason but there’s also an alternative motive. For Debbie, it was revenge. And frankly, that didn’t work for me at all. Danny Ocean’s alternative motive was getting his ex-wife back – his motive was love. It sounds so cliché, and mushy, but I loved that about Ocean’s Eleven. It was about money, sure, but it was also about love. So the movie was focusing on opposites, stealing and love – a negative and a positive. Ocean’s Eight is about getting revenge on a man. A negative is paired up with a negative – and that didn’t work for me at all.
Since seeing the film I’ve read many reviews that praise Ocean’s Eight. I can see it, there is hope there somewhere but I think the movie was simply rushed. The script was weak, and it needed a lot more depth to it. The characters were underdeveloped. There wasn’t even a conflict within the characters themselves, which just makes for a boring movie. And just because I’m a woman, does not mean I will automatically love a movie with women pulling off a heist at the MET. Which I think is exactly what the movie expected from me. Too bad I’m too critical to fall for that.2