Ocean's Thirteen – Review

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Steven Soderbergh

Brad Pitt .Rusty Ryan
George Clooney .Danny Ocean
Matt Damon .Linus Caldwell/Lenny Pepperidge
Elliott Gould .Reuben Tishkoff
Al Pacino .Willie Bank
Eddie Jemison .Livingston Dell
Don Cheadle .Basher Tarr/Fender Roads
Shaobo Qin .Yen/Mr. Weng
Casey Affleck .Virgil Malloy
Scott Caan .Turk Malloy
Bernie Mac .Frank Catton
Carl Reiner .Saul Bloom/Kensington Chubb
Ellen Barkin .Abigail Sponder
Andy Garcia .Terry Benedict

As far as repentance goes, Ocean’s Thirteen almost makes up for all the sins committed by Ocean’s Twelve. Almost. Steven Soderbergh and company return to the basics by again setting the heist in Las Vegas. Better still, the scheme is easy to relate to: rigging table games for revenge’s sake. From there, the film is the same old familiar tricks that one would hope for from an Ocean’s movie (thankfully, without the dead weight of the female leads).

Ocean’s Thirteen benefits from the audience’s familiarity with the characters and is thusly able to set its plot into motion immediately. Al Pacino (who continues to play a caricature of his former self) is Willy Bank, an unsympathetic casino entrepreneur who swindles Reuben out of his profit share from The Bank Casino. This leads to Reuben’s nearly fatal heart attack which inspires the Ocean gang to seek justice the only way they know how. The rest of the plot unfolds as pleasantly and efficiently as should be expected from this crew. But it is a bit difficult to clean the bad taste out of one’s mouth left from Ocean’s Thirteen‘s predecessor.

Viewers should feel a bit cheated that this trilogy is not full of three classic films, but it feels good to say that there are two relatively perfect films in the franchise. Like the first, Ocean’s Thirteen is cloaked in a sexy cool vibe that makes the viewer wish he or she was the fourteenth member of Ocean’s posse. It seems that no scam is unachievable for these guys; no amount of side projects (no matter how implausible) can derail their efforts. They handle it all with a style and coolness that could only exist in the movies, but who cares when it is this much fun? After all, the Ocean’s series has always been about great characters, and uses every last member to perfection.

Each character plays his role so well, in fact, that it is hard to believe there is enough time to develop them all. A part of it is a comfort in their roles, especially Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, and Casey Affleck. The latter two are so perfectly cast, and their subplot of causing a strike at a Mexican factory and subsequently needing to end it is so spot on that one finds himself wishing the movie could spend more time with that story. But the beauty is that that wish comes is made over and over again with every character’s involvement. The charismatic interactions between characters keep the film from getting bogged down in its outlandish scenarios.

Ocean’s Thirteen is unmistakably a rehash, but at times these leftovers taste better than the original meal. The film feels more like a reunion with old friends than an actual movie, and that is a feeling that very few movies have ever been able stir up. It is great to see that all our old friends are back to their old selves again. Here’s to hoping we can see them again real soon.