Cool, the whole cool, and nothing but the cool

I've seen the original Ocean's Eleven, but it's been several years, but it's very clear that this is mainly a spiritual remaking, perhaps even an homage, rather than, say, the shot-by-shot remake of Psycho that Gus Van Sant made a few years ago. It's a logical choice - for a film about robbing Las Vegas Casinos, security technology has changed a lot since 1960.

The rundown is that Danny Ocean, just released from prison, recruits a number of people (say, eleven?) to help rob three Las Vegas casinos - the convenient thing here, is that these three casinos are all served by the same vault underneath the Bellagio. Really, this severely undercuts the concept of robbing three casinos - that's really overstating the case - they're robbing one vault, that's it.

The film is all style. The heart of the original Ocean's Eleven was the collective coolness of the starring members of the Rat Pack, and the smoothness with which they carried out their plan. Here, we are surrounded by many of the stars of 2002 - George Clooney (as Ocean), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Don Cheadle, and Bernie Mac, alongside some older stars like Elliot Gould and Carl Reiner. There isn't exactly the same cachet of the old Rat Pack here, but they ooze coolness on the screen and the star power certainly doesn't hurt.

The film bets the bank on the heist itself, on a very, very complicated operation executed smoothly because of how smooth the characters are. Of course, there are some hitches in the process, but I don't think anyone will have doubts as to the actual outcome. We even have one character (Damon) who is purposely setup as a contrast to the coolness-under-pressure of everyone else.

I may be straining my memory, but I believe the original Ocean's Eleven was a bit more about character than what we see here. The characters don't so much interact as pose at each other. The coolness of the characters cannot be interrupted by actual reality. To a degree, that's okay, as here, the characters are all supporting the central idea of cool. In that sense, the film is a success, but it's not breaking any new ground over the old film.

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Review: Not bad. star5/10 mastadonfarm

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