Ocean's Eleven
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Bob Marshak

Ocean’s Eleven is a star studded modern remake of a 1960s film. When Jerry Weintroub, the producer of the latest Ocean’s Eleven spoke of the 60s film, he said: “What people went to see in the original film was Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop on screen together. They could have been reading the telephone book and it would have been exactly as successful.” The same could be said for the cast of the new film starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Julia Roberts, Elliot Gould and Carl Reiner, just to mention a few.

But the difference is that this film has a good, well-edited story that’s carried off with a very entertaining style. All these conmen thieves are very likable and some, like Danny Ocean (Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Pitt) are very cool, yet all 11 thieves are also very human. They make mistakes but are innovative about how they correct their errors.

They’re also good thieves. Who hasn’t dreamt of stealing from a place that constantly takes other people’s money? Their target, three Los Vegas casinos all owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia). While they’re in it for the money, many of them have other reasons for ripping off Benedict. Ocean is doing it because Benedict has stolen his x-wife (Julia Roberts). Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould) is doing it because Benedict took over Tishkoff’s casino then had it demolished and many of the 11 are in it for the pure rush of doing a near impossible job, which could easily get them all killed. To top it off, they con and steal with a sense of humor and without resorting to violence.

Though director Steven Soderbergh usually chooses projects with a little more depth and social impact, such as Traffic and Erin Brockovich, his talents have certainly added a dimension to Ocean’s Eleven. But he’s the first to admit that his main goal with this film was pure entertainment. “To me, Ocean’s Eleven was my opportunity to try and make a movie that has no desire except to give you pleasure from beginning to end – a movie that you just surrender to, without embarrassment and without regrets,” Soderbergh said. With that as a measuring stick, I’d say he succeeded and audiences will enjoy this film.

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