How do you surpass one of the best films of 2001? How do
you raise the stakes on the pinnacle of heist films? How
can you make Brad Pitt sexier?
Steven Soderbergh's answer is you don't even try.
The entire rat pack from Ocean's 11 returns this
Christmas to throw a party. George Clooney and Brad Pitt
return as your dashing hosts. Catherine Zeta-Jones is on
the invite list this time around, along with party crasher
Bruce Willis. But the real guest of honor for Ocean's
Twelve is you, the audience.
Soderbergh and the cast clearly aren't interested in making
another high rolling, glamorous heist film. There is no
big score that everyone is working towards, but rather a
series of ever changing goals that the characters adapt
to. Without the heist film format, or the burden of being
a remake, Ocean's 12 is free to tell a great story
about a guild of thieves and their exploits.
A few years after the Bellagio job in Ocean's 11,
the gang has gone their separate ways. Danny Ocean (George
Clooney) and Tess (Julia Roberts) are living ho-hum lives
of banality when Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the mark
from the first film shows up and demands his money back,
with interest. Benedict visits each team member, no matter
where they've been hiding and delivers the same ultimatum.
With their cover blown, the team must reassemble and perform
another job to get the money to pay Benedict back. As an
added twist, they are being pursued by a former love interest
of Rusty (Brad Pitt) who works for a European intelligence
agency and a master thief who wishes to prove himself the
best in the world.
It's obvious from the get go that this is a cast that loves
film making and that they trust their director. There is a
familiarity and comfort among all parties that there is a
great joy in telling a great story. These are not only characters
we like but actors we love.
The dialogue is crisp and well timed while still being
relaxed and casual. The characters are given time to tell
a more complex story while still enjoying the freedom to
stop for silly banter. O12 manages to accomplish
being intriguing and hilarious at the same time.
Instead of the bright lights of Las Vegas, Ocean's
12 has a very 60s-70s European flare to it. It's almost
a remake of the original Ocean's 12, had one been
made. The cutaways are rough, sometimes awkward and not
always flattering, but they add realism rather than Hollywood
high gloss. Soderbergh's jump cuts, handheld shots and grainy
film show a passion for film making. The soundtrack blasts
with a groovy eloquence. It's all hip, man.
The proof is in the details. The film not only tells a
grand story but follows up on the smallest details from
Ocean's 11 that you may have forgotten. The two
films fit so well together that a movie marathon is a must
when O12 comes out on DVD.
The only possible downside to the film is that not everyone
will appreciate the slower pace or the nontraditional directing.
In a world dominated by Jerry Bruckheimer explosion fests,
a generation of movie goers won't recognize top notch actors
and a director at the peak of their art. Too bad for them,
more fun for the rest of us.
Ocean's 12 is a classic for now and for decades
to come. It's both a worthy sequel and a top notch film
on its own. I loved it and immediately wanted to see it
again and then I wanted to sacrifice a goat to my god and
beg that they make another.
If that line doesn't make the cover of the DVD box, then
I will kiss Brad Pitt square on the lips.