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Film Review - Ocean's Eleven (2001)
The world is not that black and white. So although we as an audience hate bad guys, what constitutes bad and good are all relative. If a man is a thief, but he steals from a man who is more bad than he, we decide he is really a good guy.
In the re-make of Ocean's Eleven, George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, a thief just getting out of jail. He's looking for a big score, and what better place to score big than Las Vegas?
So Ocean violates his parole and starts assembling his crew to knock over three casinos at the same time. It doesn't hurt that the casinos are all owned by a real schmuck who happens to be sleeping with Ocean's ex-wife.
Now that's the whole set up. This isn't a deep movie. It is a very fun film of eleven people taking on a system and having fun at the same time. The personalities are playful, but you wouldn't want to leave home with these guys in town.
What you have to do with this film is toss reality out the window. If you don't, far too many times during the film, you're going to tell yourself that what they are doing wouldn't work. These guys just know too many well guarded secrets. Everything goes right for them all the time. It's just too improbable. It couldn't happen. But then, this is a fantasy.
What I just couldn't swallow was the ex-wife played by Julia Roberts. This character comes off as a butterfly who flutters from rich guy to rich guy. When is Roberts going to stop playing whores and telling us that they're all Pretty Women?
A much more satisfying character is Ruben Tischkoff (Elliott Gould). Tischkoff is out for revenge. He owned a casino only to be driven out of business by Ocean's target. He even had to go to the demolition of his own casino. He wants pay back, and offers most of the best comic relief.
You have to understand that the only way this film works is if the narrative withholds critical information until the end. Otherwise Ocean's Eleven would fall flat on its face. But that's okay in this picture. The pacing is dead on, and mixed with its characters, Las Vegas itself, and our own desire to hit it big, Ocean's Eleven is fun bubblegum that should not be missed.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Released in 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Reviewed by Mongo