Ocean’s 8 feels formulaic and road-worn in places, but the sparkling chemistry among an A-list cast is worth more than its weight in the diamonds they plan to steal.
The film follows Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the recently-released felon and sister to recently deceased Ocean’s 11 protagonist Danny Ocean (George Clooney, who does not appear in the movie). Ocean, after pleading and swearing to never commit a crime again at her parole hearing, goes right back to her old ways.
Looking up Lou, her former partner-in-crime (played by the supremely chic Cate Blanchett, in the sharpest suits that side of the hemisphere), Ocean devises a plan to rob New York’s Metropolitan Museum during its biggest social event of the year, the famed Met Gala.
Along the way, Ocean recruits a motley crew consisting of a hacker (Rihanna), a hustler/pickpocket (Awkwafina), a suburban mom/profiteer (Sarah Paulson), a black market jeweller (Mindy Kaling), and disgraced fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), in order to pull off the theft of the Toussaint diamonds, which will be worn to the ball by vacuous film actress Daphne Kluger (played to airheaded perfection by Anne Hathaway).
The clear highlight of the movie is the cast: Blanchett is reliable as always as the reticent and besuited Lou; Bonham Carter basically plays herself as the kooky fashion designer Anna Wiel. While musicians Rihanna and Awkwafina were (criminally) underused as hacker Nine Ball and streetwise thief Constance, it is Paulson who steals the most scenes in the least time as Tammy, who still finds time to phone her children while in the middle of planning a heist.
Ultimately, however, the movie is let down by the script’s under-utilisation of the cast; the movie is a veritable “who’s who” of the best female actors working today, boasting multiple-Oscar winners. Yet despite all this talent, the script badly misjudges the cast, and is likely to leave the viewer wanting more. At least this shortcoming gives us hope for a sequel.