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Movie Review

Ocean's Eleven

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Directed by Stephen Soderbergh, starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts.

When it comes to old movie remakes, the usual format is often fairly straightforward: a bygone flick is either doused with special effects or given a mildly different spin, generally with mediocre results. Here, Hollywood golden boy Stephen Soderbergh works his magic on what was once a run-of-the-mill vehicle for Frank Sinatra and his rat-pack buddies and a tepid heist movie is transformed into a winning blockbuster with an all-star cast.

Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is just out of jail with not a lot going for him - he’s on parole, broke and, while he was inside his wife deserted him for big Casino boss Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). Enter fellow con man and long-time pal Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) and the two hatch a plan for a triple Casino vault robbery. It’s a big job, requiring capital for which they turn to rival club mogul Reuben Tishkoff (Elliot Gould). He agrees and they recruit a team of highly skilled tricksters and charlatans to pull off the big-scale swoop.

Pitt soon begins to question Danny’s motives when he realises there is more to the plan than just money. For Danny, there is emotional currency as Casino boss Garcia is seeing his ex-wife Tess, who he hopes to win back. Julia Roberts is predictable as the winsome wife while Garcia is ice-cool and menacing as the Casino big shot. The accompanying team are collectively slick (ignoring Don Cheadle’s very dodgy English accent) with Matt Damon in fine form as a prodigious rookie thief.

The interaction between tux-clad Danny and burger-munching Rusty is a treat to watch. Modern gadgetry, special effects and a bigger budget undoubtedly perk up the original story, but this is a far superior film for more reasons than mere mechanics. The David Holmes-fuelled soundtrack is an inspirational backdrop where modern hip-hoppers Handsome Boy Modelling School rub shoulders with Perry Como. Despite an abundance of big-name stars, the cast display an egalitarian brilliance with no one over-shadowed (except a disappointing Roberts). Ocean’s Eleven is must-see movie gold and 100% entertainment.

Sinéad Gleeson

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