This review is spoiler-free.
The film’s biggest weaknesses fall at the feet of the director and the script. Gary Ross takes charge of both of these things and it wasn’t a good mix. His directing has always been questionable, but he’s got some good writing credits to his name. But given the keys to the sweet shop, he creates one big sickly mess.
The story has so many frustrating plotholes, not to mention some truly terrible misfiring jokes and stuttering dialogue. Credit to the cast here, as they had to work miracles to try and elevate the material. As for the execution of the camera, the film feels very limited with some very change choices made at the film’s key moments.
Despite these things, Ocean’s 8 does have plenty of positives.
Firstly, the costume design is on point, especially when it comes to Cate Blanchett. The slick and stylish clothing is matched by the trendy hip locations and very impressive soundtrack. While the plot has some major issues, overall the story was enjoyable enough. It never really has a WOW moment but has its fun and exciting moments that make up for a lot of the film’s flaws.
As for the cast, Bullock has the most screentime and comes off the strongest because of it. She was an enjoyable, investible character. Cate Blanchett is criminally underused, but when she does have time to shine, she blinds you with her brilliance. As for the rest, their roles are limited but no one delivers a bad performance. Doubts I had over the likes of Rihanna were put to bed early, despite being the usual ‘IT Hacker who can do everything’ character type that I usually find myself rolling my eyes at.
The film’s biggest surprise, in terms of the cast, was Anne Hathaway. I never thought I would be typing these words, but she was simply brilliant. It feels like she embraced the caricature of her Hollywood perception and just ran with it. I mean, Its always going to be convincing when you’re placing yourself, but still, in this film, it worked well.
So, the big question. Is this a needless gender-swap movie? Not really. It was enjoyable for the most parts and the characters are very much doing their own thing. There’s a difference of motivation so that adds a little more freshness to the franchise. Will it get a sequel? Doubtful, as it may struggle to bring enough people to the cinema.
Oh, if you hate celebrity cameos, you’re gonna be very, very frustrated. If you enjoy them, enjoy!
Overall, if you get the chance to see Ocean’s 8, it’s worth a go. Yes, the film struggles with its story, but the cast alone is worth the entry fee. It’s just a shame that the man at the helm ultimately sinks the movie. With a change of writer and director, there may be enough hope to see this talented group of women back on the big screen in the future.