Plot: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has just been paroled from prison, but much like her brother Danny, she has never been able to live on the straight and narrow, so she has a plan in mind before she’s even out of jail. This is no ordinary score however, but one worth $150 million and as such, she will need a team of hand picked, elite level partners to pull off the heist. The first squad member is her best friend Lou (Cate Blanchett), who then helps her select a hacker, a jeweler, a fence, a pickpocket, and a fashion designer, all with crucial roles in the scheme. Once she has all the players in place, Debbie lays out her master plan and while the heist is rich, stealing world famous diamond jewels off the neck of a world famous actress will be no simple task. Can Debbie and her band of colorful characters somehow manage to pull off this bold heist and what surprises lurk in store for these ambitious criminals?
Entertainment Value: Much like the Going in Style remake that was released the year before, Ocean’s 8 aims to be a feel good heist movie and while it is beyond predictable, it is a fun watch. The narrative is passable, but the heist itself is what matters and this one is intricate and allows for a lot of diversions. The plan phase is well executed, with some twists thrown in of course, while the execution phase is masterful, though tension is never present. Ocean’s 8 has zero tension or conflict, which makes sense given the feel good, laid back vibe involved, but I can see how some viewers would prefer a more substantial approach. I wouldn’t have minded some tension or stakes, but the movie makes it clear early one this is just going to be a fun, chill heist and it delivers on that promise. The visuals are well crafted and there is ample style here, especially in the wardrobe department, but I do wish some of the supporting roles were given more to work with. This is an eclectic, colorful group of performers and some of them are little more than window dressing, which is a shame.
While the heist is one of the film’s biggest stars, the cast is loaded with talent and most of them show up here to steal the show. While this is an ensemble piece, Sandra Bullock has the clear lead and she turns in a good effort, but she seems a little bland compared to her more charismatic costars. Cate Blanchett steals her fair share of scenes, as the bad ass, but business minded bestie Lou, not to mention she has the best outfits, at least in my opinion. Her character is well written and economical, letting Blanchett shine and make the most of her appearances. Rihanna is given some money lines and she delivers on those moments, but fades into the background when one liners aren’t involved, while Helena Bonham Carter nails the nervous/manic vibe here. But to me, Anne Hathaway is the standout of Ocean’s 8 and takes what could have been a bubble head role and turns it into one of the film’s most interesting characters. Her reactions are priceless and her screen presence is fantastic, one of her best performances. The movie drops the ball when it comes to a few of the smaller roles, as Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, and Mindy Kaling aren’t given much to work. I would have loved to see more of these three, especially Awkwafina, but perhaps the inevitable sequels will provide more of a chance for these talents to shine.