Gosh it’s great to see Sandra Bullock again in the movies. Most of us fell in love with her when she appeared as a fairly no-name actress appearing alongside Keanu Reeves in 1994’s Speed. Her wit and comedic timing was well noted and has served her well. However, we haven’t seen Bullock in quite a while. Her last two appearances were in 2015 when she starred in Our Brand is Crisis (a film I did not see) and voiced the villain Scarlet Overkill in the animated Minions. She is such a talented actress and her onscreen presence is overdue. She leads Ocean’s 8, which is a spin-off of the former Ocean’s movies (11, 12 and 13) that starred George Clooney and friends. Here, Bullock plays Clooney’s sister, Debbie Ocean who proves that the heist businesses is in the family blood. Clooney appears in this film (but in photo only) and Reuben (Elliott Gould), one of her brother’s band of merry men, appears briefly, but these two are the only real connection to the former movies. This is Debbie’s/Sandra’s show.
The movie opens with Debbie’s last days in prison. During her five years, eight months and 12 days in the slammer, she’s had a lot on her mind. Despite that she says she is a new woman wanting to live the simple life far away from prison life, she’s really been devising the perfect crime. When she finally gets out, she wastes no time looking up her former partner, Lou (Cate Blanchett) who has been content with her non-criminal life but is soon reeled back in to the dark side and helps Debbie plan to steal $150 millions dollar’s worth in diamonds. To do the job though, they’ll need a jeweler (Mindy Kaling), a street con artist (Awkwafina), a super shopper thief (Sarah Paulson), a computer hacker (Rihanna) and a fashion designer who hasn’t had hit design in years (Helena Bonham Carter). The diamonds is question will be around the neck of snooty actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) who is attending the Met Gala where a bunch of other real-life celebritites appear as themselves. The film also stars James Corden (in a surprising un-obnoxious role) and Richard Armitage who attends the gala with Daphne.
Unlike other heist movies, Ocean’s 8 is pretty easy to understand and is delightful all the way through, although it does seem strange to be rooting for the “bad girls.” And despite the fact that this movie stars a large cast of women, this wouldn’t be what I would call a chick flick nor is it an anti-men movie. (It is an anti-MAN movie however in that Debbie has a score to settle with one particular guy.) Most of the roles could have been easily cast with men, but in a way, it is like the former Ocean’s movies but from a woman’s perspective. Who knew feminism could be so much fun?
Everything about this movie is fun and a pleasure to watch. The casting is excellent. Blanchett is the ying to Bullock’s yang playing off each other’s confident characters very well. Their feathers never get ruffled. Hathaway plays a part similar to her early Princess Diaries days only snottier and with a bit of an attitude. However, Bonham Carter is my favorite and nearly steals the show as the doubtful designer who is clearly the most uncomfortable of the group with this mission. Her expressions are priceless.
Gary Ross’ direction is spot on and is accentuated with Eigil Bryld’s clever direction of photography and Daniel Pemberton’s fantastic musical score and a handful of well-selected pop tunes including Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made for Walking.” The movie is also fairly clean too with few curse words. Perhaps the only downsides is that the last 15 minutes or so feel a little of place and tacked on. And Kim Kardashian’s brief cameo. Other cameos include Marlo Thomas, various fashion icons and the inside of a Subway sandwich shop.
Main Image: Warner Bros.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.