June 13, 2018

Ocean’s 8: Female Gang Hatches Plan to Steal Priceless Diamond Necklace

By Kam Williams

The original Ocean’s 11 (1960) starred Frank Sinatra and a group of fellow Las Vegas headliners called the Rat Pack. The film was remade in 2001 with George Clooney starring as Danny Ocean along with ten other film stars. The story was again set in Vegas and also was about an elaborate casino heist. The picture was such a hit it spawned a couple of successful sequels, Ocean’s Twelve (2004) and Thirteen (2007).

Ocean’s 8 is a refreshing departure from the original series. In addition to featuring an all-female gang, the film is set in New York City instead of Las Vegas.

The movie opens with the late Danny Ocean’s little sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), who is doing her best to convince a New Jersey parole board that she’s not at all like her con artist brother. However, as soon as Debbie is let out of jail, she goes on a brazen shoplifting spree at Bergdorf Goodman and cons a desk clerk at a luxury Manhattan hotel into giving her a key to a suite.

She then proceeds to mastermind an elaborate plan to steal a priceless diamond necklace during the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s (the Met) annual costume ball. Debbie recruits a team of cohorts, starting with her longtime partner in crime, Lou (Cate Blanchett). The rest of the crew is comprised of hi-tech whiz Nine Ball (Rihanna), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), fashionista Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), big screen diva Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), Tammy, an ex-thief coaxed out of retirement (Sarah Paulson), and Constance, a trash-talking crook played by Awkwafina.

The fun starts when the conspiracy is put into action in and around the museum. In addition to a really cool plan, there are a profusion of cameo appearances. Dozens of celebrities attend the marvelous Met gala, including Katie Holmes; Kim Kardashian and her sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner; tennis pros Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova; Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour; and designers Tommy Hilfiger and Alexander Wang; to name a few. Ultimately more lighthearted than edgy, Oceans 8 is a fun-filled affair where all the famous faces that serve as backdrop almost upstage a delightful female crime caper.

Excellent (****). Rated PG-13 for profanity, drug use, and suggestive content. Running time: 110 minutes. Production Studios: Smokehouse Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures. Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures.