So I watched Ocean’s Thirteen…
This movie is definitely a return to everything that I loved about the original. This movie reestablishes that slick and polished wit and intelligence that made the original a hit. It isn’t quite as good as Ocean’s Eleven but it does its best and more than entertains.
Okay, basic plot: When Reuben (Elliot Gould) gets screwed over by ruthless businessman Willy Bank (Al Pacino), Danny and the rest of the gang get together to pull off a revenge job. They plan to steal 500 million dollars from Bank’s new casino and make sure that Bank not only loses his company but almost everything he holds dear.
This movie is a great throwback to everything that made the original Oceans movie. We’re back to the planning, multiple elaborate cons and interpersonal banter that made the first movie such an entertaining watch. This movie feels very well-crafted. It has a gloss, a fine finish that I thought Ocean’s Twelve needed. It feels like the fimmakers stripped the story down to its bare essentials, really took a look at what made the first film successful and then built on that to make this movie. Ocean’s Thirteen is actually a very good movie – at times on par and better than the original. It seems like the actors are back to having fun and the spirit of the movie is much lighter with a lot more humour and fun moments. Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones aren’t in this movie because getting revenge for Reuben is apparently “not their fight” and while I did think their absence was odd, their exclusion definitely made the movie more streamlined and focused.
As mentioned earlier, Ocean’s Thirteen ditches the impulsive, improvisational and, somewhat, impratical ideas of Twelve for the tried-and-tested steady, meticulously-planned schemes that we’re used to. Three quarters of the movie is allocated to the planning and preparation of the heist and then the final quarter goes to the actual execution. This execution means so much more because of the time spent arranging all the factors necessary for success. The movie also puts less emphasis on trying to put a twist into the heist. The script isn’t trying to fool you into thinking things are going wrong or trying to set up some amazing reveal that shows how intelligent our crew is. When things go wrong they’re dealt with in real time and not left unresolved to try to impress us later on.
I know I’ve used the word ‘heist’ a few times in this review but this movie is actually more about cons than actually stealing anything. There are multiple ruses, flimflams, bamboozles, strategems, schemes and lies at work which I loved seeing. One of my favourite things about all the Oceans movies is the structure around the criminal world they live in. They have jargon, rules, regulations and procedures that govern them. It’s just interesting to think that something as lawless as thievery has a code and protocol.
My favourite thing about this movie is probably Al Pacino as Willy Bank. When I think of a great villain, it’s someone that you inexplicably hate but love at the same time because even though they’re bad, they’re amazing at it. Every move they make, no matter how despicable, commands respect. Willy Bank is one of these villains. He’s obsessed with success and is wiling to cut down anybody that stands in his way. I hated him but also found myself liking him just because he’s such a badass. This is definitely down to Pacino’s powerful performance and some superb writing.
Overall, Ocean’s Thirteen is a return to the everything that I loved about the original. It’s extremely intelligent and well-thought-out, the characters are back to their swashbuckling best and the addition of Al Pacino to the franchise just elevates the quality. While not as good as Ocean’s Eleven, it’s definitely comparable. Watch it, 8/10