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Sep 9, 2007

Ocean's Twelve (2004)

I love caper films. Topkapi, Gambit, Rififi, The Italian Job, The Biggest Bundle Of Them All. There’s something in me that gets sucked in by cool people stealing large amounts of money or priceless artefacts from utter bastards. These movies demonstrate the Universe as we want it to be. We want pricks to never prosper.

The remake of Ocean’s Eleven was intelligent, witty, stylish and the caper had a few nice twists in the execution. The one downside was that Julia Roberts – never one of my favourite actresses—was in a bummer of a role. This time around, her contribution is a lot more fun, weaving a conceit of cinema into an important plot point.

The plot, as much as it matters, is about the revenge of Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the Bellagio casino owner whom the Eleven robbed in the first movie. He has found Ocean’s Eleven and wants his money back even if the insurance did pay out. This gives the movie the chance to see what the characters have been doing since the big score at the Bellagio. In order to pay Benedict back, the team needs a big score. They’re too hot to work in the USA so they hit Europe. After a caper in Amsterdam they find that there’s a third player in the game – Le Renaud de la Nuit – the Night Fox who claims to be the best thief in the World. Add a Europol agent (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who has a history with Rusty (Brad Pitt) and a competition to steal a Faberge Coronation Egg and the game is on. Interesting actors have smaller roles in the movie -- Robbie Coltrane, Bruce Willis, Eddie Izzard, Cherry Jones, Vincent Cassel and Albert Finney.

Ocean’s Twelve brings back the spirit of the 1960s caper film. The plot twists are very cool, the European locations are wonderfully photographed, the soundtrack is extremely well thought out, avoiding the easy option of using familiar music to evoke mood. It uses European artists including Piero Umiliani and Roland Vincent as well as Dave Grusin.

This isn’t deep and meaningful movie making but it is intelligent, smart and very entertaining.

(Originally posted Sunday, January 16, 2005)

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