Movie Review: Charming ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’ grifts its audience

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They´re not even trying anymore, and yet a lazy, inconsequential Ocean´s Thirteen easily bests the previous two Danny Ocean movies.

Director Soderbergh is no longer trying to please us, no longer desperate to be “cool”; much like Gene Siskel´s barometer for a film (is the movie as interesting as watching a documentary with the same actors sitting around having dinner would be?), here we watch the cast sit around for two hours and the film thrives on nothing but their charm.

This time around we have Willie Bank (Al Pacino) as the baddie; after he screws Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) on a casino deal, Clooney, Pitt, Damon & co. jump into action to enact revenge. The plot of the heist – which is designed simply to cause Bank to look bad – is so complicated and ridiculous (involving boring machines, earthquakes, and a revolt by Mexican factory workers) that we no longer care; we know a twist with an explanation awaits us at the end anyway.

Most of the cast is given nothing to do (I´m guessing Eddie Izzard is intended to be Ocean´s thirteenth, but he seems to be lost in the background for the majority of the movie) but hang around and wait for a brief scene in which they´re called into action.

Even Clooney and Pitt have their most memorable moments watching & discussing Oprah. Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones are completely absent from the proceedings, but – to be honest – they aren´t really missed.

Yet it´s still fun watching these actors have a good time; Clooney and Pitt have charm to spare even if they´re still no match for Newman and Redford, and Pacino is delightful as Bank.

Ocean's Thirteen

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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