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Critic's Rating:
3.5/5
Story: Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is released from prison and she immediately starts working on a plan to steal Cartier diamonds from the Met Gala. She seeks the help of her best friend Lou (Cate Blanchett) and they assemble an all-women crew to execute the high-stake heist.

Review: ‘Ocean’s 8’ drops all the men in favour of a scintillating cast of women. The new all-women setup puts a fresh perspective on this heist franchise. As you’d expect from an ‘Ocean’s’ movie, this film has some great set pieces on planning the robbery. Because the film’s central characters are all women, their conversations mix the usual hustle talk with fashion, shopping and style related subjects and that makes things interesting. While they do talk about men too, thankfully it doesn’t go over-the-top with the bashing or swooning. The girls stay focussed on their task at hand, to pull off the heist in the smartest of fashion. The film has the same busy and slick feel of Steven Soderbergh’s movies with George Clooney; it’s just as funny and engaging too. But it’s not as smart or detailed as those films. In an attempt to pull off the twists, the film takes a few cinematic liberties.

Sandra Bullock takes over the ‘Ocean’ mantle from George Clooney. She’s introduced as his sister and he’s pretty much dead. Nonetheless, she talks her way out of prison and the moment she steps out, she starts recruiting a crew to pull off a heist that would make her infamous brother proud. Cate Blanchett steps into the shoes of the best friend and fixer, a role that was Brad Pitt’s domain in the past. A lot of the previous film’s characters make surprise cameos in the movie too. But for all its references to the franchise, ‘Ocean’s 8’ also brings a lot of new things to the table. The new characters bring new quirks. Helena Bonham Carter plays a down-on-luck fashion designer Rose Weil, Rihanna is the hacker with the weird name Nine Ball, Mindy Kaling is the Indian girl who’s an expert on diamonds and jewellery, Sarah Paulson is Tammy who’s an expert on logistics and finally there’s Awkwafina, the Asian girl with the sleight of hand. There’s also Anne Hathaway, who plays a Hollywood actress and the ladies piggy back on her celebrity status into the Met Gala in New York.

‘Ocean’s 8’ is just as audacious as it is clever. The first half of the film especially sets up a strong story. The way Sandra Bullock’s Debbie swindles and shop lifts with confidence is fantastic. Blanchett’s character’s people skills and constant sense of sarcasm and cynicism is entertaining too. Once the other girls join in, the team shows some great chemistry and there’s a lot witty dialogue on offer. The second half loses a little steam, especially during the climactic portions when all the heist details are revealed. The script doesn’t quite incorporate the same detail and finesse in explaining the robbery as it does in setting things up.

But a spectacular performance by Sandra Bullock overshadows the minor flaws in the plan. Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway are pitch-perfect with their comedic flair too. A brief appearance by James Corden right at the end shakes things up nicely too. Director Gary Ross, presents a well-cut heist movie. There’s a constant reference to Clooney’s Danny Ocean in the film which also keeps the spark alive. ‘Ocean’s 8’ may not be as sharp as the films that featured Clooney and his gang pull off world class thefts with élan, but this movie has a lot of style and substance to please even the hard core genre fans.

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