Sunday, March 17, 2019
Based on the characters by George Clayton Johnson and Jack Golden Russell, Ocean’s 8 is a spin-off film of the Ocean’s trilogy from the 2000s in which Danny Ocean’s sister Debbie leads a group of women to take part in a big heist at the Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Directed by Gary Ross and screenplay by Ross and Olivia Milch from a story by Ross, the film is a heist film in which eight different women take part in a heist as it play an event that is attended by celebrities where lots of riches are at. Starring Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter, James Corden, and Richard Armitage. Ocean’s 8 is an exhilarating and enjoyable film from Gary Ross.
After being released on parole from serving five years in prison over a con game gone wrong, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) teams up with her former partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett) with five other women to take part in a heist at the Met Gala that is hosted by actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). It’s a film that is sort of a revenge film but it’s really a heist film that play into a group of women wanting to get rich and steal a diamond necklace that is worth more than $150 million. The film’s screenplay by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch follows Ocean’s plan to rob the Met Gala to get this ultra-expensive necklace from Cartier that is to be worn by Kluger yet knows she can’t pull this off by herself as she had a plan for this heist for years. Especially after what happened to her the night she got arrested and her then-lover in arts dealer Claude Becker (Richard Armitage) put her in jail.
The film does have a unique structure as the first act is about the planning of the heist where Ocean and Lou gather a group of people for the heist including the jewelry maker Amita (Mindy Kaling), the street hustler/pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), the hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), the disgraced fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), and an old friend of Ocean in Tammy (Sarah Paulson) who is a suburban mom that still fences good at her home. The second act is about the actual heist that takes place at the Met Gala where there is a lot that is happening but also things that do play into what isn’t being shown and where the players are at in the roles they’re in for the heist. The film’s third act is about the aftermath as well as a twist into the heist that revolves around other people who might know what happened.
Gary Ross’ direction is stylish as it play into the idea of the heist as he focuses more on the planning and the players involved as well as their contributions to this heist at the Met Gala. Shot on location in New York City, the film does use the locations as well as being able to shoot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where the Met Gala is held annually as there is this element of realism that Ross would create in the direction that has characters be at the actual event with real celebrities. There are some wide shots in some of the locations in the city yet Ross would take great advantage of the interiors at the museum including scenes during the Met Gala where it is this lavish and enchanting world where the elite eat the finest foods and look at the rare pieces of art and jewelry. There are also some medium shots and close-ups that play into the characters interacting with one another as well as the attention to detail as it add to some of the intrigue as well as this need for repetition of certain scenes where there is something else that is happening that integral to the story.
Ross’ direction also play into some of the low-key events as it relates to Ocean’s own thirst for revenge towards Becker as well as her history with Lou and Tammy who also knew about Ocean’s affiliation with her brother Danny who is presumed to be dead. The status of Danny remains ambiguous as there’s a couple of cameos from members of his gang who appear yet the film does remain a women’s gang as it relates to the heist as well as an aftermath that raises question into how this necklace got stolen. Even as it also reveal more about Kluger’s role in the heist as someone who was a target but also seems to know more about what was going on. Overall, Ross crafts a witty yet adventurous film about a group of women stealing a diamond necklace at the lavish Met Gala.
Cinematographer Eigil Bryld does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as much of the exterior lighting in the daytime is straightforward with some low-key interior lighting for the scenes at the main base for the gang to the interiors of the Met Gala inside the Museum of Modern Art. Editor Juliette Welfling does brilliant work with the editing as it is stylized with its montages, jump-cuts, split-screens, and rhythmic cuts that help play into the film’s energetic and comedic tone. Production designer Alex DiGerlando, with set decorator Rena DeAngelo and supervising art director Chris Shriver, does amazing work with the look of the home base that Ocean, Lou, and the gang work at as well as the design of the presentation of the Met Gala in the middle of the museum. Costume designer Sarah Edwards does incredible work with the costumes as it is largely stylized to play into the personality of the characters including the gowns that they would wear at the Met Gala
Makeup artists Joanna and Louise McCarthy, along with hairstylist Liliana Meyrick, do fantastic work with the look of the gang with the disguise that Ocean would have as well as the hairstyle that Nine Ball and Weil would sport. Visual effects supervisors Jiwoong Kim, Vico Sharabani, and Asaf Yeger do terrific work with some of the set dressing for scenes at the Met Gala along with the 3D printing design of the jewels. Sound editor Paul Hsu does superb work with the sound as it is straightforward along with the mixes of the atmosphere of the Met Gala with its crowds. The film’s music by Daniel Pemberton does wonderful work with the film’s music with its mixture of electronic music along with playful organ backgrounds that add to the film’s energetic tone while music supervisors Gabe Hilfer and Devoe Yates provide a soundtrack of a wide array of music from Sammy Davis Jr., Eamon, the Notorious B.I.G., Kelis featuring Too $hort, Dorothy Ashby, Sofi Tukker with Nervo, Alisa Ueno, the Knocks, Patti Page, Amy Winehouse, and Nancy Sinatra.
The casting by Shayna Markowitz and Debra Zane is great as it feature cameo appearances from Elliott Gould and Qin Shaobo reprising their respective roles in Reuben Tishkoff and “The Amazing” Yen who were part of Danny’s gang. Other notable small roles include the quartet of Elizabeth Ashley, Dana Ivey, Marlo Thomas, and Mary Louise Wilson as four old ladies who were hired by Ocean for a crucial role in the heist, Nathanya Alexander as Nine Ball’s younger sister Veronica, and Dakota Fanning as a young starlet that Weil would be pictured with to rouse jealousy in Kluger. James Corden is terrific as the insurance fraud investigator John Frazier who plays a key role in the third act as someone trying to find out who stole the necklace as he suspects Ocean. Richard Armitage is superb as the arts dealer Claude Becker as a former lover of Ocean who betrayed her and put her in prison as he becomes a target for revenge as he would attend the Met Gala as Kluger’s date.
Awkwafina and Rihanna are fantastic in their respective roles as the street hustler/pickpocket Constance and the hacker Nine Ball with Awkwafina providing a comical and lively performance as Constance and Rihanna being low-key yet cool as Nine Ball. Mindy Kaling and Sarah Paulson are excellent in their respective roles as the jewelry maker Amita and the suburban mom/fence Tammy with Kaling providing some humor and determination as a woman desperate to leave the shadow of her family while Paulson is more straightforward as a woman secretly doing criminal stuff to fund her lifestyle as she would take a job working at the Met Gala to help with the heist. Helena Bonham Carter is brilliant as Rose Weil as a disgraced fashion designer whose is in serious debt as she is looking for a break as she joins the gang to pay off her debts but also revive her name as it’s a mixture of comedy and drama.
Anne Hathaway is amazing as actress Daphne Kluger as the host of the Met Gala who is full of herself and bitchy towards people as she is someone that is an obvious target but there’s a lot more to her as it play into a woman that is just dealing with the world she’s in. Cate Blanchett is incredible as Lou Miller as Debbie’s girlfriend/partner-in-crime who works at restaurants and such as she is eager to renew her relationship with Ocean as well as be someone is also a mastermind in the world of crime knowing that it can help her financially. Finally, there’s Sandra Bullock in a remarkable performance as Debbie Ocean as the sister of the famed thief Danny Ocean who had just been released in prison on parole as she is seeking revenge for the man that put her in prison but also hoping to get a major payday through the one thing she and her family are good at as it’s a performance full of charm and wit.
Ocean’s 8 is a marvelous film from Gary Ross. Featuring a great ensemble cast, fantastic locations, a cool music soundtrack, and lots of fun and exciting moments. It’s a film that never takes itself seriously while taking the time to create a heist as well as focus on the players who are involved. In the end, Ocean’s 8 is a remarkable film from Gary Ross.
Gary Ross Films: (Pleasantville) – (Seabiscuit) – The Hunger Games - (Free State of Jones)
Related: Ocean's Eleven - Ocean's Twelve - Ocean's Thirteen
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