Ocean’s Thirteen

Put in very simple words, Ocean’s Thirteen redefines cool and classy. It’s flashy, it’s star studded, it’s humorous and it’s entertaining. The dialogues are snappy, the tone dry, the sets sleek. The slick cinematography and the tasteful background score that make Las Vegas a swanky, dreamlike place are add-ons.

Now here’s the deal: When Reuben (Elliott Gould) gets double crossed by the devious Willie Bank (Al Pacino), the Ocean team decide it is time to even the score. The gang decides to take Bank down by sabotaging his Vegas hotel in a number of clever and amusing ways. But the aim here is not to take Bank’s money, but make him loose it and his Five Diamond awards.
Through a series of scams, they rig every game in the casino, making everything pay out to any player there. Underground, they create an earthquake, causing everyone in the casino to evacuate, removing Bank’s chance of winning it back. Throughout the movie, the Five Diamond reviewers time at the casino is sabotaged through various means. Ocean’s Thirteen also has a moral edge over its predecessors. The men are motivated not by greed but by a desire for justice. They are less interested in personal loot than in spoiling Bank’s ill-gotten gains. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ellen Barkin, Al Pacino, Andy Garcia, Scott Caan, Casey Affleck, Elliot Gould, Carl Reiner, Don Cheadle once again charm us.

Women are noticeably missing from Ocean’s Thirteen; Danny’s Tess (Julia Roberts) and Rusty’s Isabel (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Ellen Barkin has the only featured female role, as Bank’s ambitious and wicked right-hand woman, Abigail Sponder. The absence of love interests actually works to the film’s benefit by allowing the film more time for male-dominated moments of comradeship and smooth light-fingered moves.

If there’s a weakness with Ocean’s Thirteen, it is the subplot involving Matt Damon trying to seduce Ellen Barkin. Also the movie doesn’t so much climax as conclude. But it celebrates teamwork, cleverness and faithfulness. And that’s pretty cool!