Steven Soderbergh brings back the comedy crime caper in the last instalment of the Oceans Trilogy, Ocean’s Thirteen. Danny (George Clooney) and Rusty’s (Brad Pitt) very own rat pack once again bring in fresh faces, losing Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta Jones, and gaining Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin who are working together once more. Pacino’s talent and skill as an actor can sometimes waver on boring and unconvincing as he moves into his older years, hopefully the rest of the cast can pull him out of this funk. Mixing the plot up, this time the focus pin points Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) the old hotel and casino owner who played “the money” in the first two Oceans films.
Tishkoff, wanting to become legit, tracks down Willy Bank (Pacino) casino tycoon to go into business with, sticking with what he knows best. With the project nearing completion Bank finally comes clean and admits his ulterior motives, using Reuben for his money. As he is forced to sign everything over Reuben has a heart attack, taking him out of the picture, unable to exact revenge. Fortunately he has 10 other accomplices that are willing to do this for him. And so it begins, the end of The Bank as he is now known and the final last heist.
Their plan is a clever one – this time becoming non-profit criminals, they merely want to destroy Bank on his opening night and make things right for Reuben. These boys don’t know the meaning of being subtle. Plan No.1 to prevent Bank from winning a prestigious casino award and Plan No. 2, the icing on the cake – to rig all the slot machines and games ensuring the loss of all his profits on his very first night of gambling. Of course there are slight complications, one being the extraordinary security system he has in place, making sure all wins are authentic.
Soderbergh learnt his mistake from the Ocean’s Twelve, stick to a smart action packed film and you have the makings of a winner. Especially when there’s a reason behind the madness. Reinstating Reuben’s reputation. Ocean’s Thirteen felt like Soderbergh had found his feet again and the wit that evaporated previously was back in full force. The team of 11 are revitalised with a few surprise additions making the bond and banter better than ever.
The cinematography of the film has been consistent throughout the trilogy along with the music and the overall retro feel. Without this unique take on the movie it would have become like every other production in the film-sphere. Pacino being brought in as a new character was integral to keeping the material fresh; however as mentioned before his acting abilities have severely diminished, the character had no depth, when he was angry it felt like he was “acting”. Some thing’s never change. He was at his very best in the 1970s, what happened in the following 40+ years is beyond me and any other fan of his oldest work.
The cast are still their arrogant, idiotic yet brilliant selves. Matt Damon steps up and out from all of them, gaining a key role in taking down The Bank, in a hilarious and different casting compared to his normal stoic and sarcastic characters. With plenty of tricks in the bag and surprises round every corner Ocean’s Thirteen rounds up the Oceans Trilogy in a intelligent way. The action keeps on coming and so do the laughs.
Originally published on ‘All in the Name of Film‘ website