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Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Film review: Ocean’s Eleven (2001), directed by Steven Soderbergh

In this remake of a 1960 film Danny Ocean (George Clooney) has just got out of prison, and he has a plan. He breaks parole to go to Los Angeles to meet up with friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and divulge his ambitious plans: to simultaneously rob three big casinos in Las Vegas. But they’re going to need a little help.

So, a team of talented criminals is put together: Frank Catton (Bernie Mac), Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould), Virgil Malloy (Casey Affleck), Turk Malloy (Scott Caan), Livingston Dell (Eddie Jemison), Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle), “The Amazing” Yen (Shaobo Qin), Saul Bloom (Carl Reiner), and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon).

All three casinos are owned by Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), and who should Danny Ocean manage to find is Benedict’s girlfriend? Tess (Julia Roberts) – the former Mrs Ocean …

Cameos by a few TV stars playing poker near the beginning: Holly Marie Combs, Topher Grace, Joshua Jackson, Barry Watson, and Shane West.

Hitting three casinos at once sounds like it would be impossible, and you do get the adrenaline flowing watching Ocean’s Eleven, because how on earth could they do this and get away with it? Sure, they have a bunch of experts trying to pull off this heist, but breaking into a casino is like trying to break into Fort Knox – it’s just not happening.

When Tess comes into the picture it complicates matters. Suddenly it’s more personal, especially since Danny clearly still has feelings for her. Or, you could just see it as they’ve added a bit of romance to keep your interest up. It sort of works.

I like this film. While it’s not one of those films I’d watch over and over again, it’s fun every now and then. Parts are funny, but most of all it’s intriguing how they go about planning these shenanigans, and whether or not they’re going to get caught. It’s a nailbiter for all the right reasons, and okay, so George Clooney seems to be pigeonholed into playing the suave criminal who isn’t really a criminal because he’s such a nice guy despite robbing banks. Well, you know, whatever works. This does.

4 out of 5 reinforced vaults.

Traxy

An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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