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Ocean's Thirteen

24 Feb 2007

“OCEAN’S THIRTEEN” (USA 2007) ***
Directed by Steven Soderberg

First of all is what everyone wants to know – how good OCEAN’S THIRTEEN is.  The bottom line is that OCEAN’S THIRTEEN is not bad at all.  Director Steven Soderberg still has it to film an impressive heist in Las Vegas with Danny Ocean and the all-star cast still all high spirited enough to keep the gags and suspense flowing.  The film is well paced with neat little laugh-out loud humour with little twists along the way allowing the audience a chance to relax and enjoy a nostalgic feel-good movie.

This time around, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and gang are not after the money.  They want to put things right with a ruthless new casino owner, Willy Bank (Al Pacino) still doing marvellous character acting here and chewing up the scenery) who have double-crossed their mentor, Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould).  They wish to firstly, ruin him financially by having the gamblers win instead of the house.  Next, is to prevent him from winning the Royal Review Board’s Five Diamond Award for his new hotel.  The gang includes, again a wide assortment of con artists played by notables like Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Bernie Mac and old veteran Carl Reiner, who still steals his scenes despite his age.

Director Soderberg understands the mechanics of caper films.  He spends the initial 10 minutes to illustrate, with humour to keep with the light heartedness of the film, the double cross.  Pacino helps.  With the gang forced to side with the mark (target) of the first film OCEAN’S ELEVEN, Terry Benedict, played by Andy Garcia, Soderberg keeps the interest held from start to finish.

The script by Brian Koppelman and David Levein, one up from the previous OCEAN’S TWELVE offers choice lines equally to all the characters.  The best ones are uttered by Willy Bank (How long do I have to wait fro a conduit?) and his right hand lady played with sexy aplomb by Ellen Barkin.

Everyone and everything is cool in OCEAN’S THIRTEEN.  Soderberg’s keeps with the culture of both the cheesy and glamour of the casinos of Las Vegas.  With an unexpected neat twist at the end, and with good things happening to the good guys and the double-crosses getting their come-uppance, OCEAN’S THIRTEEN proves a worthwhile gamble at the movies.