Ocean’s Eleven (Steven Soderbergh, 2001)
This breezy remake the Rat Pack movie of 1960 starring the new Hollywood Rat Pack of George Clooney as the new Danny Ocean, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts. This is clearly an ensemble film where we feel the actors got lots of fun making the movie and interacting with each other. It is easy to feel that Pitt and Clooney are friends in real life.
The story is set in Las Vegas, also called Sin City, the place in North America where you go to have fun and experience every adult excess you want. Don’t forget that want happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. The definition of Las Vegas is very different from the definition of Monte Carlo the setting of superb casino movies in Europe. However, Las Vegas is very unique and it is also represented in Cinema as a place where anyone can get rich and become someone. In the case of Ocean’s Eleven, it is the revenge of Danny Ocean who wants to get the money from Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) the owner of three of the most famous casinos in Las Vegas whilst having an undisclosed idea behind his head.
To execute this mission, Ocean assembles the dream team of impersonators, pickpockets, gamblers, etc. Much like, Soderbergh assembled the dream team any producer or director could have hoped to get together in front of a camera. What a film poster, with all those stars it was a box office sure shot. One of the most interesting thing is the presence of Carl Reiner and Elliott Gould, who were bigger names in their time but also have great roles here. It is interesting because every member of the cast gets a spins at the roulette, to borrow an expression of the milieu. They are also randomly sparse like if while writing the script the put the names at the position of a roulette and that the writers give it a spin to know which character they were going to write for.
Ocean’s Eleven drips coolness and fun and even if it is not someone’s cup of tea to enter into the trend and appreciate this kind of “cool” flick you sure have a fun film. Soderbergh also understood that a film about a big robbery must be centered on everything around the so-called robbery than the actual theft. The plan, the relationship between the characters and the sharpening of the approach are stronger elements of a well constructed script.
Getting over all the coolness and the fun of Ocean’s Eleven, we get a good script that keeps the twists and essentials elements of a contemporary good comedy/crime/thriller. The depiction of Las Vegas in Ocean’s Eleven is very neat and represents the adult Disney Land it is. This is a very fun movie that is more than worth the look.