When Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) discovers “Ocean’s Eleven” were the ones responsible for robbing his casinos, he tracks them down and demands they repay him everything they stole, with interest. Unable to perform jobs in the United States, they travel to Amsterdam. While in Amsterdam, Danny (George Clooney) and Rusty (Brad Pitt) are challenged by Europe’s greatest thief, the Night Fox (Vincent Cassel), to find out who is the best thief in the world.
A few of the things I discuss in this review may be spoiler-ish, so heads up.
Ocean’s Eleven is one of my all time favorite movies. So I was more than excited to see the whole gang back together again. Now I don’t say often that I’m let down by a movie (disappointed maybe, but not necessarily let down), but I’m let down by Ocean’s Twelve. The entire cast was returning, plus they were moving their operations to Europe, a place ripe with heist possibilities. It had so much going for it, but it never can harness it and becomes a mess.
I will start with some good and say this: the chemistry hasn’t changed and is still the best part about the film. The banter and playfulness that helped make Ocean’s Eleven so enjoyable still remains. Everyone returns for Ocean’s Twelve, including Tess, who gets a much bigger role. They are every bit as fun as before, never failing to bring a smile to your face.
Unfortunately, the group gets smaller and smaller as the movie goes on, limiting the interactions to only a handful by the end. It’s nice to see Linus (Matt Damon) starting to take some of the leadership role. It’s good character growth but there could have been a better way to build him up than take away Danny and Rusty. Oh wait, there was. Just look at Ocean’s Thirteen. Without the entire group together, it’s just not the same.
Even though this movie was about the heist, it didn’t feel like it was about the heist, if that makes sense. There was a lot of heist planning, but it was sporadic. As a result, the pacing suffered and felt awkward. Since the members are getting picked up by the authorities one by one, every time someone was captured, the remaining members had to come back and adjust the plan. Sometimes this can work well, look at The Next Three Days, but I don’t think it worked that well here. And with the reveal and the end, I’m left thinking ‘what was the point of that’ and I end up feeling I mostly wasted two hours.
Another fun part about Ocean’s Eleven was that even though there was a lot going on, it was still simple. Here, there’s this whole “wheels within wheels” thing going on that makes for a really complex plot that is very difficult to follow. Characters pop up, go away, then are briefly mentioned later on. Then again, the end just leaves one question: ‘why?’ This films tries to be clever but It trips over itself.
I know I’m bashing this movie pretty hard, but there is still fun to be had. Any time spent watching Danny Ocean and his merry band of thieves is always a good time. However, after enjoying the payoff of Ocean’s Eleven, the payoff from Ocean’s Twelve doesn’t compare. Not even close.
Cast & Crew
Steven Soderbergh – Director
George Nolfi – Writer
David Holmes – Composer
George Clooney – Danny Ocean
Brad Pitt – Rusty Ryan
Julia Roberts – Tess Ocean
Catherine Zeta-Jones – Isabel Lahiri
Matt Damon – Linus Caldwell
Casey Affleck – Virgil Malloy
Scott Caan – Turk Malloy
Shaobo Qin – Yen
Bernie Mac – Frank Catton
Don Cheadle – Basher Tarr
Carl Reiner – Saul Bloom
Eddie Jemison – Livingston Dell
Elliott Gould – Reuben Tishkoff
Andy Garcia – Terry Benedict
Vincent Cassel – Francois Toulour
Robbie Coltrane – Matsui
Eddie Izzard – Roman Nagel
Cherry Jones – Molly Star
Bruce Willis – Himself