Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

This is a weird movie in the sense that you don’t often see movies that are so obvious about what they are: an excuse to put a lot of big names on screen for the box office clout.

The idea isn’t a bad one; in fact, it’s very good. If you’re looking for this kind of a vehicle, an excuse to put big names on screen, why not have fun with it? This is what Steven Soderbergh and crew do with Ocean’s Eleven (and what the original did).

Unfortunately, it just doesn’t make for a good movie. The reason, I think, is because there are too many masters to serve. Too many stars to focus on. It’s hard to develop the on-screen relationships and back story necessary to engage an audience, which is what a good movie does.

While Ocean’s Eleven is good to look at and has some interesting scenes, it’s really like watching a nice image for a very long time. After a while, despite the attractiveness, it gets kind of dull. This is how I found Ocean’s Eleven – kind of dull.

I can’t say there’s anything bad about the movie or performances, it’s just that I can’t find anything particularly good. It’s partly, I think, because the movie is forced to focus on “the caper” to snag the audience, since it can’t concentrate on any group of characters for very long. In other words, the caper carries the story.

There are action sequences with the obligatory quipping, but they’re mostly tedious. I think this is so because the movie never lets us get involved with the characters enough to make these scenes work. And this is because there are just too many stars requiring screen time. Equality has no place in a movie. Some characters have to be clearly more important than others.

However, this isn’t to say Ocean’s Eleven is a bad movie. It’s entertaining in its way, but not overly so.

© 2002 Piddleville Inc.

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