Film 500 - Ocean's 11
Director - Steven Soderbergh
At last! We can begin with film 500.... Today for this blog I am joined by none other than Mr Elliot Kenneth Biddle. Who will occasionally add his excellent wisdom and quips to the film.
The reputation of this film has been tarnished by the subsequent sequels which have leant slightly too far towards "isn't it fun watching the beautiful people pissing about in a film" - This film has the advantage of being somewhat intelligent in plot and stuff.
This is a remake of a film that I haven't seen - however it does star the rat pack (the original one does), this makes it intrinsically cool. However it means that I can't knock up any serious comparisons. Or silly comparisons. In fact no comparisons at all can be drawn because I haven't seen one.... But I'm repeating myself. I am reliably informed that while this version of the film is smoother & suaver than the original it is not quite as quick & funny. Neither is the ending as comedically tragic.
So let's talk about what is good about this film.
1) ELLIOTT GOULD!
He is cool. 'Nuff said really. When I am a rich old man I hope I can wear enormous glasses and swan about in smoking jackets with cigars in a cigar holder. Yes he is that pimp. He has a holder. For his cigars. This a whole new level of pimp and must be respected. And Elliott Gould is always cool in everything. He even made Friends good.
I mean, I already own smoking jackets, but that is but the first step. Mr Biddle would like it known that his name really is Elliot & he already smokes cigars & is thus further ahead in the 'Gould Rush' than I. Bastard.
2) George Clooney is an American who can do subtle comedy! And (ooh controversial - starting a sentence with an And) he is pretty good at self deprecation. These are rare qualities and it is what makes old Mr Clooney such an admirable leading man. This also spills out into the relationships with other characters. Whilst the sequels do somewhat milk the relationships, the '11' of Mr Ocean are an easy going and have an effortlessly cool rapport. It shows that Clooney and Pitt are friends outside of the film and that they have let the same playful banter show in the film. They're not even trying to hide it.
And the third and final main point is:
3) Don Cheadle - His character might not be all that but he does have the greatest Cockney accent since Dick Van Dyke and that surely deserves a wee mention.
I suppose, much like Saw, this film has suffered from its sequels - which have taken what was successful and different from the first film, and milked it to the extreme.
However Steven Soderburgh is a cool director and has a naturally breezy jazzy style to his mainstream films and an easy relationship with George Clooney (we'll explore this further with Out of Sight, later on) - which means that the film is VERY easy to watch. The pay off at the end of the film is excellent - the heist is perfectly calculated and very clever. The problem is that it is easy to drift into conversation as the film builds up to that point. I watched this film with a group of friends and the laid back nature of the film meant we ended up chatting over 2/3rds of it.
This doesn't mean the film isn't enjoyable... just that it is complete vacuous popcorn cinema.
And (yes, I did it again) special mention to Bernie Mac who is excellent in this film... and sadly dead now.
My only real problem with this film is that the only female in it is Julia Roberts. As this blog shows I do somewhat enjoy my eye candy.... and she doesn't quite float mon boat. As the French say....