WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Five years, eight months, 12 days and counting - that's how long Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has been devising the biggest heist of her life. She knows what it's going to take - a team of the best people in the field, starting with her partner-in-crime Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett). Together, they recruit a crew of specialists, including jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), street con Constance (Awkwafina), suburban mom Tammy (Sarah Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), and fashion designer Rose (Helen Bonham Carter). Their target - a necklace that's worth more than $150m.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
I love heist movies. Everything from The Thomas Crown Affair to Inside Man and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I love the action, the (sometimes dark) humour and especially the dubious interactions between the key role players, because you never know who is conning who.
What makes all of that great is that, at its best, a visual game of poker in which you as the viewer should never know who holds the trump card. My favourite thing about this genre is when it’s done right, I get swept up into the job and I feel like the secret silent member of the team. Like I’m in on something that the world doesn’t know about just yet. That’s what I loved about Ocean’s 8. It created this world where Sandra Bullock as Debbie, showed me her masterplan for the greatest heist the world has ever seen.
The best part about Debbie’s master plan was that I didn’t get it all spoon-fed in one monstrously confusing bite, instead it unfurled at a nice pace as we meet character after character. That classic little narrative trick is so masterfully done in this flick and made me care about each character.
The way that Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean really is the foundation that this epic caper is built on. She is generous in her scenes, never trying to outshine anyone (like some comedic leads often do), and instead has a chemistry, with all of the other actresses, that lights up the screen.
It makes for very easy viewing and I think the classy editing really helps with that too because not only does it make reference to the slew of the all-male movies before it but creates a new tone all its own. What’s great about that dichotomy is that the film doesn’t make you feel like they’re trying to recreate a classic but rather create one of their own.
Cate Blanchett as Lou; Mindy Kaling as Amita; Sarah Paulson as Tammy; Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil and Awkwafina as Constance really do well to make their characters idiosyncratic and very memorable. At the screening Rihanna as Nine Ball obviously got the biggest cheers when she appeared on screen and her contribution, although limited, was still just enough of a good thing.
I would say my favourite interactions of all were between Sandra Bullock’s Debbie and Cate Blanchett’s Lou. They have a great energy between them that eludes to years of familiarity. I would love the next instalment of the franchise to unpack that more, I don’t even care if they don’t do another heist, I want a buddy comedy/drama.
I think everyone should go watch this movie because it’s what you would want from a fun movie experience. Something exciting to watch as you watch as you crunch some popcorn and laugh with your fellow movie-goers.