Ocean's Eleven


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Ocean's Eleven
"The plot may be off the credibility charts, but while you're in it you're loving it."

Ten minutes after leaving the cinema, you're saying, "Hang on a minute. This bit couldn't have happened and that bit depended on a series of highly unlikely coincidences."

So what? The plot may be off the credibility charts, but while you're in it you're loving it.

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Charm is a form of flattery and this film overflows with the stuff. Why knock feel-good on the grounds that it is fraudulent? Who wants to watch ultra violent ghetto corruption pictures, like Training Day, when you can luxuriate in the company of George Clooney & Friends?

The genre is called caper, which means tongue-in-cheek thrills, with no danger of watching a 3rd XI support actor being beaten within an inch of his life. Danny Ocean (Clooney) tells Russ (Brad Pitt) about Terry (Andy Garcia), the casino boss, "He'll kill you and then go to work on you."

He doesn't mean it. He likes talking things up to make them sound more exciting.

When Danny comes out of the slammer after four years, he doesn't sign on at the Job Centre. He collects together a team of itinerant thieves, each with their own special skill, to rob three Las Vegas casinos of $150million. The vault, where the loot is stashed, has been called more impregnable than a nuclear silo.

"Why do this?" Russ asks.

"Why not do this?" Danny replies.

Actually, he has another agenda. His ex-wife (Julia Roberts) is romantically linked to the workaholic control freak owner of the three casinos. Danny is a master of self-delusion and there must have been a moment during his incarceration when the thought of stealing Terry's money, as well as his girl, tasted too good to miss.

As an ensemble picture, noone is stretched beyond their capability. Steven Soderbergh directs with a degree of seriousness you would expect from the man who made Traffic and yet retains that lightness of touch he demonstrated in Out Of Sight.

Whatever you think of the plot, the film has been beautifully made. Frank and Dino and Sammy would be proud. If you're going to tread on other people's graves and remake the best of the Rat Pack fun flicks, leave the hobnails at home.

They do.

Reviewed on: 12 Jan 2002
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Ocean's Eleven packshot
Led by a charasmatic ex-con, eleven thieves plot the heist of three Las Vegas casinos during a prizefight - but one of them has more than money on his mind.
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Director: Steven Soderbergh

Writer: Ted Griffin, based on the film by Lewis Milestone

Starring: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Elliot Gould, Bernie Mac, Don Cheadle, Carl Reiner, Casey Affleck, Shaobo Qin, Edward Jemison, Lennox Lewis

Year: 2001

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US,


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If you like this, try:

Ocean's 12
Ocean's Thirteen