movie film review | chris tookey

Ocean's 13/ Ocean's Thirteen

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  Ocean's 13/ Ocean's Thirteen Review
Tookey's Rating
3 /10
Average Rating
7.15 /10
Danny Ocean - George Clooney , Rusty Ryan - Brad Pitt
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Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
Written by: Brian Koppleman, David Levin

Released: 2007
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 122

The latest threequel to try and separate you from your cash is Ocean 13, a film that takes glossy, Hollywood vacuity to hitherto uncharted levels. Even shallower than Spider-Man 3, and every bit as incomprehensible as Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worldís End, it must be the smuggest, most empty-headed example of celebrity self-worship since Oceanís 12.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Two of the important aspects of a successful caper movie are that we should care whether the heist comes off, and that we should admire its cleverness. Neither applies here. The screenplay appears to have been written for people with the attention span of a goldfish, and by them. One particularly insulting bit of plotting makes a minor character a bona fide FBI man one moment, and a fake one the next. I thought at first my failure to understand this character reversal was down to my being inattentive or having suffered some kind of momentary coma, but a check around my fellow-critics afterwards convinced me that none of them had had a clue what was going on either.

Though slightly less criminally incoherent than Oceanís 12, the film is devoid of anything resembling human interest, and is based on the bizarrely unbelievable premise that a gang of master-criminals would risk all they have to help out a comatose old pal (played by Elliott Gould) who is apparently dying of shock after he has been deceived in business by a tiny, megalomaniacal master-criminal with a fake tan (Al Pacino, looking unnervingly like the lost parent of Peter Hain and Hazel Blears). That there is a distinction between master-criminals and billionaire philanthropists seems not to have occurred to anyone involved.

Director Steven Soderbergh, currently between unwatchably pretentious art-house movies, seems splendidly determined to cost producer Jerry Weintraub (the genius behind the American film of The Avengers) as much as possible, and doesnít bother himself with such insignificant details as letting us know whatís happening, or even keeping things in focus. Whether this is down to laziness, arrogance or incompetence is hard to say.

George Clooney (pictured left), confirming himself here to be an even more reliably narcissistic screen presence than Simon Cowell, cruises through a non-performance as chief gangster Danny Ocean that makes his no-effort performance in The Good German look strenuous.

Brad Pitt (pictured right), who appears to have given up acting altogether, manages the difficult feat of being less interesting than his mobile phone.

Apart from the no-effort efforts of the two leads, the film contains a trio of the worst supporting performances - and two of the most pathetic attempts at an accent - ever committed to celluloid. Don Cheadle reprises yet again his hilarious Dick van Dyke cockney, though belated realisation of just how bad it is means that he has altered it slightly. It now sounds like Rolf Harris playing Martin Luther King.

Eddie Izzard, wittily cast as a technological master-criminal, decides to play one scene as American, and the next as English Ė and why not? What do you expect in a film without characters? Characterisation? Continuity? Intelligence?

The view of the film-makers seems to be that if youíre stupid enough to want to watch Ocean 13 after the disaster that was Oceanís 12, you deserve all you get; and I suppose they have a point.

Just as you think things canít deteriorate further, along comes the worst actor of all time, Julian Sands Ė and if you think Iím being harsh, treat yourself, if you dare, to a triple-bill of him in Gothic (1986), Boxing Helena (1993) and The Medallion (2003). Here is a man so inept that he canít speak, move or even stand in a remotely believable fashion. Cast as another technological genius, he has all the conviction of Norman Wisdom attempting to play Gandalf.

The one thing about the caper that really strikes a chord is how important it is to have an exit strategy. By about a quarter of an hour in, I was certainly contemplating mine.

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