The internet was quick to pounce and throw some judgemental shade when the first trailer of Ocean’s 8 was released in late 2017. Well I can tell you now that any naysayers who came out of the woodwork to get all hot and flustered over this all-female rendition can sit down.
Admittedly when I first saw the trailer for the much anticipated Ocean’s 8 and learnt the plot would follow the leading ladies steal jewellery, the feminist in me rolled her eyes. However, although on the surface this plot sounds like a step in the wrong direction from the journey to have female actors be taken seriously, in reality the film unravelled a powerful take on a stealthy multi million dollar heist with a twist of feminine chic and perfection. It’s not just a man’s role to play a stealthy heist master because if Ocean’s 8 proved anything, it’s that there are glamorously cunning qualities that only a strong female lead can pull off in a hollywood blockbuster movie.
Debbie Ocean (played by Sandra Bullock) only requires 7 counterparts in her squad of 8. Not 11, 12 or 13, perhaps because she knows she can pull off the job with equal efficiency to her brother before her (Danny Ocean aka George Clooney) with less (wo)manpower . Another potential reason for having a cast of 8 is to give leeway to (hopefully) produce two sequels, mirroring the success of the original films.
Director Garry Ross made sure to insert plenty of parallels and nods to 2001 Ocean’s 11, some that made sense and some that were a bit too deja vu for my liking. Straight out of jail, Debbie Ocean introduces us to each character as she recruits for her next law breaking agenda. The switched-on partner in crime Lou (played by Cate Blanchett) is the first recruit. She is a blatant mirror to Brad Pitt’s character who is seen as a grounding force and slap of reality for Danny. Although I enjoyed the Blanchett-Bullock dynamic duo, I unfortunately didn’t see another attempt at conveying a complex relationship across any other other characters. The next recruits introduced us to a hilarious hood rat pic pocket Constance (played by Awkwafina), a dotty Irish fashion designer Rose Weil (played by Helena Bonham Carter) who is tasked with dressing famous film star Daphne Kluger (played by Anne Hathaway), Amita the jeweler (played by Mindy Kaling), shoplift loving Tammy (the relevance Tammy’s part I didn’t quite resonate with) played by Sarah Paulson, and lastly a cool and mysterious computer hacker Eight ball (played by Rihanna).
We experience a nice bit of gritty tension when Debbie is introduced to Eight ball, a relationship that has the potential to turn into an interesting clash of personalities. However this relationship sadly seems to be forgotten and the rest of the films sees a tickety boo sequence of events, none of the characters clash, no flaws were unravelled, in fact no obstacles were really encountered at all throughout the film. While I thoroughly loved each of the characters and everything they individually had to contribute, there was a lot of room for relationships to be toyed and experimented with. Perhaps we can put it to that fact that women very rarely have an opportunity like this in film where there’s a combination of a melting pot of female talent and a platform where you can truly harness it and experiment.
Ocean’s 8 exceeded my expectations, and as Sandra Bullock said herself, “It was a long time coming. Too long!” I can’t wait to see what else film makers have in store with women at the centre.
- Badass female roles
- Feel good fuzzies
- Relationships need more development
- Too many nods to Ocean's 11