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Culture: Ocean's Thirteen
Wednesday, 13 June 2007 Written by Henry Midgley
This summer has been a summer of thirds- the third Spiderman, the third Pirates of the Carribean, the third Ocean's movie and its this last one that is today's subject. Whereas the other two have been seen as failures- some have commented that the Ocean's franchise has been reborn- that's definitely say the view of my fellow columnist here Matt Sinclair who feels that the franchise is on top form- so what can you expect if you go up and see this newest moment in the franchise.

Your reviewer sat back to watch this film in full expectation of what was to happen on screen and he was not dissappointed. The film is as cool, confident and relaxed as the first film in the franchise- this film will not make you ponder existance nor will it change your life- but it advertises the merits of a dinner suit and a quick bit of repartee.

The story is complicated but actually does not matter as much as the spirit of the film- the details are complicated and rest upon a heist against a hotel/casino. The heist is set up against impossible odds- particularly a machine the Greco that can't be beaten supposedly because of an earlier insult from the owner Mr Bank to one of the crew. Such an insult must be avenged and that's where Clooney and co come in- seducing Mr Bank's second in command (a corporate cougar (american slang for a woman who likes younger men) with a rapacious appetite), spoiling his chance of getting a rating from the hotel inspectorate and corrupting his machine and bankrupting his operation.

Such revenge has been the template of many films- but few with these levels of technical wizardry and general coolness. Brad Pitt and George Clooney are at the top of their game- strolling through the movie with purpose seem to have a plan for every opportunity and every moment of surprise. Indeed one might describe the movie as a contest of cool- where the character possessing the knowledge and the plan is the character winning- at the beggining of the film that's Pacino by the end... well you'll have to discover that for yourselves. All of this is played out to Fifties lounge music- the music of Sinatra (directly referenced in the script as well) and his contemporaries.

All films have faults- this one's is very simple- it moves so fast that you barely have time to think- within seconds for example the cast have worked out how to transport a machine into Los Vegas that will cause an earthquake- transporting it across continents and drilling through rock without a single person noticing or caring it seems all in aid of the heist- at many other points again it seems that these men have implausible ammounts of money and even when they need to borrow from someone at the end they effectively default on their debt- furthermore the fact that that someone is their previous enemy, Terry Benedict from the first two films, is a rather interesting detail- my advice in Ocean's 13 is don't think too hard about what the guys are doing or the flaws in the plan become evident.

That's the problem ultimately- clever guys looking cool, Ellen Barkin in a hot dress- and a heist which we can all presume is clever with Brad Pitt leaning to his side and nodding at George Clooney who has the knowledge of an almighty man and the wry smile of someone who has been through all sorts of pain. But that's about it- the gang members aren't really distinguished- characters aren't built up and the plot is difficult to follow- the movie coasts on style and is worth watching for that style- but 2 hours of sheer style does get tiring and the movie could have been cut- a third in a franchise whose only selling point was its stills is probably enough as well.

Ultimately Ocean's 13 is one of those films that nobody will want to see in fifty years time- but it does give off a sense of hollywood glamour- a whiff of the old Sinatra days and for that its worth seeing. Its a bit of fun to cheer up an evening with- it ain't Dosteovsky and it could have been cut a bit better- but those sins are not venal ones- probably this is the last Ocean's film the world can take- but it was fun whilst it lasted.