When the movie was announced I expected my eventual Ocean’s 8 Review would be a rave. With a cast for the ages and a genre known for fireworks, it had ticked more boxes than it missed. As time went on and the trailer’s were released, the potential of this film was tantalising. Potential however, it seems is as far as the filmmakers managed to conceive.
Oceans 8 is not a bad film, nor was it painful to review. It’s witty, engaging, occaissionally pulse pounding and unquestionably helmed by an incredible cast. Rarely have we seen such a slew of charismatic, Hollywood heavy weights and magnetic celebrity cameos on one screen. My biggest criticism of the film is that it seemed to run out of money.
With roughly $70m at their disposal (according to IMDB), the film didn’t exactly have a blockbuster budget. On a list of films ranked by budget on the-numbers.com Ocean’s 8 ranked between 650th-700th all time. You can certainly make a great a film for that kind of money. However, when the Met Gala is the centrepiece of your film and you struggle to make it look like the real Met Gala, you’re bound to alienate some viewers.
Looking at the production values, two elements should play a large part in shaping any Ocean’s 8 review:
1. The costumes were not worthy of the Met Gala.
The most obvious design challenge of any film centred on the Met, turned into its most enormous missed opportunity. The Met Gala dresses aren’t just another red carpet. Designers craft these dresses to be massive statement pieces, costumes, that are bold, outlandish and made to turn heads. Any Ocean’s 8 review should take issue with the film’s Met Gala. Which looked like a high school formal compared to the real thing. After getting the Kardashians, Gigi Hadid and Maria Sharapova to appear, surely the plan would be to maximised their impact. Instead, one of the movie’s strengths became it’s biggest weakness.
2. There were extras as far as the eye could see.
(Where’d all the famous people go?)
Again, right at the film’s centrepiece, the money clearly ran out when it came to keeping those celebrities on set. In the thick of the heist, during the dinner, as Anne Hathaway sat in her Princess Diaries dress eating that ill-fated soup, Katie Holmes was the only celebrity sitting at the table. The table that was supposed to be housing the biggest star of the night. It felt cheap.
Casino heist movies never suffer from this kind of problem. That’s because you don’t expect to see a slew of celebrities partying it up in Vegas. (other than the ones robbing the vault of course). But when your entire film is about planning a heist on the Met Gala, you can’t go half way. You’re heist crew can’t be more glamorous than 90% of those attending and you can’t tell me Daphne Kluger is ‘it girl’ when she’s sitting on a table with Katie Holmes.
Strangely, Anne Hathaway does a nice job in this role but also feels miscast at the same time. I wonder why Blake Lively (alongside Rhianna, two of the more iconic Met attendees) wasn’t playing Daphne Kluger… Or herself for that matter, instead.
Anne Hathaway was a scene stealer at various moments throughout the film. She also did a great job of setting up the “I don’t have many female friends” reveal. However, at times she did seem out of place within the vacuous high fashion setting. Too much Andy Sachs in her DNA perhaps? It’s probably a good thing overall.
As for the main cast, I honestly have nothing but praise. The cast truly lived up to what you would imagine in an Ocean’s 8 review. Sandra Bullock was captivating with satisfying levels of sass and attitude. Cate Blanchett was outlandish and carried her character with presence, power and compassion. Sarah Paulson was enchanting and sat in the world as well as anybody on screen. Her subtle mannerisms left me curious and wanting to know more. Rhianna, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling and Helena Bonham Carter performed their roles well and added to the chemistry of the cast in a meaningful way. The script also does a good job of protecting the less experienced actors from too much exposure.
That said, the script had it’s own issues that it needed to contend with. Any heist film is going to struggle to fill in every detail of a fictional heist, but this wouldn’t be an accurate Ocean’s 8 review if I didn’t say the film made things more complicated than they had to be. For starters: The job, within the job, within the job of robbing the crown jewels felt a little tacked on and undermining to me.
Secondly, The number of eye witnesses that could’ve told James Corden’s investigator that Debbie Ocean was speaking German and causing distractions all night was severe. And surely Sarah Paulson finding the fake necklace would’ve made her a prime suspect and under investigation, especially considering her planting the necklace would’ve likely been caught on film. And why, oh why, were the members of the crew seemingly attached at the hip and happy to be seen in public (on the subway) after the heist.
In spite of all that, the cast still showed enough potential that it’s disappointing that the film wasn’t better. Not because it wasn’t enjoyable, it was, but mainly because it wasn’t good enough inspire enough writers to pen a positive Ocean’s 8 review and drive more people to the box office. Ticket sales were hardly enough to garner interest in a sequel. Yet personally, I think that any franchise that gets Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson and Anne Hathaway on the same screen should be worth its weight in gold… Just throw in Meryl Streep next time too.
Read more reviews on Americanised:
✅ Glow Season 2 – Layered Performances Take The Crown in Legendary Rematch
✅ Black Panther – What Black Panther Taught Us About Movies In 2018
✅ Master of none – Does Season Two make it the best Netflix Original ever?
More Information on Oceans 8:
➡ IMDB – Full Cast and Crew of Oceans 8
➡ Rotten Tomatoes – Female Audiences Fuel Ocean’s 8 to $41.5 Million Opening
➡ New Yorker – Anne Hathaway wins Oceans 8