Ocean’s Eleven the Heist Film Gold Standard
Ocean’s Eleven is, technically, a drama action and adventure comedy film that was released in 2001 by Warner Brothers Pictures. The screenplay was written by Ted Griffin and the film directed by Steven Soderbergh. Soderbergh was on a high at the time, having just completed Erin Brokovich and Traffic. The film has an all-star cast that includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Mat Damon and Andy Garcia. The story line does vary, but Ocean’s Eleven was a remake of a 1960 Rat Pack movie with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and co. One of the biggest similarities between the first and second Ocean’s Eleven was the amount of fun and good time had by the casts when making them. The differences start with the fun the audience had watching the films, for the 2001 remake was a monster Hollywood hit and spawned at least two sequels.
The Film Critics’ Verdict
Ocean’s Eleven is an effervescent and incredibly enjoyable film. Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney in perhaps his most irresistible form, has just been released from prison and needs money, so he aims to rob three casinos at once and lighten their cash in hand by $150 million. The casinos he proposes to rob as the three biggest casinos in Las Vegas, the Mirage, Bellagio and The MGM Grand. The casinos are owned by a brutal and nasty character, Terry Benedict, played by Andy Garcia. Described as, and vaguely modelled on Donald Trump, the nasty protagonist just happens to be dating Danny Ocean’s ex-wife Tess, played by Julia Roberts. Viewers get the feeling that part of the heist is just a plan to get his ex-wife back.
A Terrific Plot and Story
The heist and its intricacies are bank-rolled by the groups’ eccentric friend, Reuben Tishkoff, portrayed by Elliot Gould. George Clooney and Brad Pitt received high accolades for this film, most specifically in terms of defining what suave and having charisma looks like. Although smoothly dominating the screen, Danny Ocean allows Brad Pitt’s character, Rusty Ryan, to be smooth enough to slide uphill on sandpaper and play a crucial role in providing depth and charm to the film.
One of the most pleasant parts of Ocean’s Eleven is the group interactions. The collection of actors obviously enjoy each other’s company, and it shows. An easy camaraderie, plenty of quips, teasing and joking provide a sharp wittiness to the entire caper. As a group, Danny’s crew, or Ocean’s Eleven, roll out a wonderfully cool, convoluted and layered heist that keeps viewers happily on the edge of their seats. The plot is gracefully unpredictable, full of double bluffs and red herrings that takes both victims and viewers on a roller-coaster of a ride.
A Well Told Story
As a film Ocean’s Eleven is really well told. This is the gift of having such an excellent director. Soderbergh made thought-provoking movies brilliantly, and here he shows how to make an adventure heist caper film with equal excellence. Minimal shot usage in each scene keeps the flow of action smooth, consistent and really easy to follow and thus feel involved. Ocean’s Eleven is a film that can be watched and enjoyed many, many times over, and should be.