Twitter Plot Summary: Clooney & Co unite to teach Al Pacino a lesson. And help us forget about Ocean’s Twelve.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Key Cast: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Elliott Gould, Al Pacino, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Bernie Mac, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Shaobo Qin.
Five Point Summary:
1. Pacino must be stopped, no matter the cost!
2. Who’s right, who’s wrong? Very grey. Except you want Ocean’s crew to win.
3. Cool, suave and sophisticated. Except for Bernie Mac.
4. Nice ‘tache, George!
5. There’s going to be a plot twist, surely? Nope.
This review (other than a few minor amendments) originally appeared on www.randomstoat.com on 04 February 2012.
The third film in the Clooney “Ocean’s” trilogy sees the group coming together to take down villain Al Pacino’s casino after he swindles Elliot Gould out of a big money investment. The one thing I know from watching any of these films is that there is a clear distinction between so-called “good” and “evil”. Yes, Pacino’s character Mr Bank is an unpleasant chap but it’s a common image from the world of business. Likewise, Clooney’s gang of swindlers and con-artists are on the wrong side of the law but have a moral code that allows us to route for them. On face value though you could easily tweak the perspective of the film so Pacino is the victim we have sympathy for whilst he’s swindled out of half a billion dollars by the heist equivalent of the A-Team. But then there’s a counter-counter argument if you disagree with gambling and the big money that is usually involved, and if you sit on that side of the fence then clearly Mr Bank deserves everything that happens to him. I think my brain has just exploded.
One thing I like about the Ocean’s trilogy (not so much 12, but again, more on that when I review it) is the relatively simple plot – there’s a job/heist to be done and once the team is assembled they get on with it. No twisty-turny plotting, just a good old fashioned heist. I got halfway through the film and was expecting there to be a twist at the end where Pacino has known all along what their plans are, which would then be countered by another twist with Clooney revealing another aspect of the plan that may have been alluded to earlier. As it happens we get a very minor twist with investor Terry Benedict (played by Andy Garcia) trying to steal the Five Diamond awards accrued by Pacino’s character for hotel excellence, but that’s it. Nice and simple storytelling.
Given the number of characters in the film it eventually became a checklist of ticking off the supporting cast as they contributed to the plot. And they do so, piece by piece there’s enough room for everyone to have their character moments. It’s always a risk with ensemble films that either some good characters/actors are marginalised whilst the “lead” guys get most of the lines and the action. You could argue that most of the film hinges around Clooney, Pitt, Damon and Pacino, and you’d be right. But as I’ve previously said, everyone has a job to do and screen time is rather generously shared.
Overall, I enjoyed it for its brand of light entertainment but it’s not a film I would want to watch on a regular basis. I think once every few years for the entire trilogy may be about right. Also kudos to Eddie Izzard for impressing in a relatively small role yet holding his own in scenes shared with Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Favourite scene: Seeing their plan unfold. Masterful direction from Soderbergh.
Quote: “You shook Sinatra’s hand. You should know better.”
Silly Moment: Clooney goes undercover with a huge moustache.