A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Ocean’s 11 (2001)

April 9, 2010

Ocean’s 11 (2001)

Another day when my schedule doesn’t match well with Amanda’s means another day when we’re doing our reviews separately today. So today we’re doing another of our most quotable favorites: Ocean’s 11. That’s the 2001 version with Brad Pitt, George Clooney and all, not the Rat Pack version.

We have watched this movie so many times that we practically have it memorised. And the reason we’ve watched it so many times is simple: it’s a joy to watch. It’s just about the most perfect heist movie ever. Not because the heist is realistic. There are a couple big plot holes (such as when did the thieves swap the bags at the end? How did they get the bags full of fliers – for hookers – into the elevator?) But the movie has such style, flare and class that it doesn’t matter.

I associate director Steven Soderbergh more with strange indie films (like Coffee and Cigarettes) than with summer action comedies with big name stars, but his direction in this film is deft and flawless. You should really check out the two commentaries on the DVD here – Soderberg’s for great info on how his directorial technique works (he likes to leave himself wiggle room to set up new shot ideas on the set… he doesn’t have everything storyboarded and pre-planned), how well his film crew works as a unit (they are lightning fast doing the set-ups and often wrap a scene early), and lots of great info about making the movie. Then there’s the actor’s commentary where you get lots of joking around and dirt about behind the scenes stuff (Brad Pitt jokes around a lot, but does comment on his choice to always have his character Rusty eating junk food during any down time.)

And what fantastic chemistry the cast has! Particularly Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Several times in the movie their characters Rusty and Danny seem to know exactly what each other are thinking. They have flawless comic timing and play very well off one another. Two of the lines Amanda and I quote toeach other most often from this movie are banter between Danny and Rusty. The “Do you think we need one more” bit and “Hey, we could ask him!” A movie that has eleven protagonists could easily get bogged down, but this one simply floats along in a cloud of smooth class. Every single actor has a part to play and they all do it so well. It looks like it was effortless fun. In any other project a performance like Don Cheadle’s as Basher could have stolen the show, or Casey Affleck and Scott Caan’s constant banter and ribbing as the Malloy brothers could have been too over the top… but here every single actor steals the show, and it brings it to a whole new level of awesome.

And Andy Garcia is a great menacing villain. He talks in the commentary about Terry’s predatory nature, says that his signature walk was like a shark – he had to keep moving to live. You really feel he’s dangerous, and that he’s very nearly as cleaver as Ocean’s crew. He figures out what’s going on almost instantly and far before the reveal to the audience.

Add to all that a fantastic, hypnotic and groovy soundtrack and you have simple movie magic. A pleasure to watch every single time.

April 9, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | ,

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