reviewed by Andrew James
This time, we're back in Vegas (where we should be) and a new player is in town. A BIG player by the name of Al Pacino. In the opening act, we see him cut down Reuben (Elliot Gould) big time, almost killing him in a sinister double-cross. Danny et al. are of course not too happy about this and vow revenge. Their scheme will be effective but complicated. Take down Pacino for all he's worth on the opening night of his new casino.
What worked so well in the first Ocean's film is back in a big way: bright lights, colorful vistas and quick, give-and-take dialogue with all of our favorite characters returning (save for Julia Roberts). The quick-witted thinking between Pitt and Clooney is as strong as ever. The dim-witted bickering between Affleck and Caan is also back, though not used to its fullest potential as it was in 11. One nice touch was the idea to bring back Andy Garcia who was once the team's nemesis, now on the side of the heisters.
What's most distinguishable about the film is Soderbergh's flashy directing style. You know you're watching an Ocean's movie within about 10 seconds of frame one. With quick zoom in and outs, sweeping pans and even sending the camera upside down once in a while, you'd think it would be a motion sickness nightmare; but it's not. It's done smoothly and tastefully and whatever you happen to be looking at on screen is always hip and artsy in a contemporary sort of way. Nothing is cheap in the film. It's beautiful locales, expensive (CGI) hotels, nifty gadgets and costume design that would have Versace giddy in his grave. It's everything we want Vegas to be in our dreams.
The addition of Barkin and Pacino is a masterful stroke. Like Garcia in the first film, Pacino is a rich, rich man who always gets his way. But unlike Garcia, this guy is a real bad dude. I don't mean bad as in kind of a jerk like Garcia was, I mean bad as in ruining people's lives for fun and his own advancement. Bad as in, breaking even the criminal underworld's unwritten rules and not caring. An extremely unlikable character. The kind you love to hate. As his right hand "man," is Barkin in a very nice side role. And let's be honest; at 53 years young, she looks FANTASTIC as always.
There is a lot going on in this film to watch for. Again, though it requires a bit more attention than I really wanted to invest, it's still easy to just carry on fairly brainlessly and enjoy the banter and humor. There are also a few small side stories and plots to follow that are just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the rest of the film. In fact, maybe the best scene of the whole movie has no dialogue at all; and it's all thanks to Oprah Winfrey.
The quick, ryhthm laden soundtrack is slightly mysterious in a 60's TV detective show kind of way, yet also groovy and toe tapping that is as hip as the characters are. If you remember the soundtrack of the first two films, same guy and same sound here. It's obviously worked well for those films, so Soderbergh figured why change it.
My only real complaint of Ocean's 13 is that it is too short! I almost never think that about any film, but here, it is the absolute truth. As I said, the time flew by and I could've sat there and watched more mayhem and banter between all these exquisite characters for another two hours if Soderbergh would've let me. No down time and nothing too serious at all, Ocean's 13 is a laughingly good time at the theater that is as absolutely sparkling as the finest of champagnes. Of all the three-quels being produced this summer, Ocean's 13 is a sure bet to be the most fun.
IMDb.com - full cast and crew
FLIXSTER PROFILE Ocean's 13