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Dan Heller's Movie Review of "Ocean's Eleven"


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George Clooney
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To me, what makes Ocean's Eleven fun is how it sticks to the basics of a good heist film, while also adding a sense of nostalgia for the films of the 60s and 70s. You'd expect a big Hollywood production with over-acting and special effects when you have an all-star cast on the marquis and an Oscar-winning director at the helm. On the other hand, director Steven Soderbergh established a good formula with his two films, Traffic and Erin Brockovich: the use of grainy film stock and actors who give a no-nonsense, understated, plain-clothed, yet believable performance.

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Brad Pitt
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This year, Soderbergh applies his technique to Ocean's Eleven, a remake of the film by the same name from 1960. Here, George Clooney assumes Frank Sinatra's role by playing the leader of the rat pack, Danny Ocean, who dons his dashing looks and charismatic confidence to recruit eleven consirators to pull off the perfect heist - in this case, it's $650M from three Las Vegas Casinos simultaneously.

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Andy Garcia
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The star-studded lineup includes Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Andy Garcia to the marquis, adding Elliott Gould to cast in an obvious nod towards the 1960s era from which the film came. All are impeccably entertaining, with clever script, and an even more clever sophistication to their plan. The plot is to pull off the heist, yes, but what gives it depth is Danny Ocean's charm. Besides his on-screen style, the film's appeal also focuses on his real heist: to win back the heart of his ex-wife, Tess, played by Julia Roberts, who left Danny while he was serving time for his previous con.

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Julia Roberts
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The characters in the film, along with the cold, mechanical way in which they perform their tasks, reminded me of the television dramas of the 70s, like Mission Impossible, Manix and other Bruce Geller productions, where the entertainment was in the cool sophistication of the plot. You liked and respected the characters because they were geniuses at what they did, good or bad, and there was never really an overt verbal or physical conflict.

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Matt Damon
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While all that worked quite well in today's version of Ocean's Eleven, the one criticism I have is that of the way the film portrayed the relationship between Danny and Tess. It's okay that there was no depth— we can forgive them that, since it was implied much the same way the other characters were portrayed coolly—it was more the way the film's pace, mood, tone and even soundtrack suddenly migrated to that of a love story at the end. Ninety percent of the film wasn't a love story, so the sudden shift of gears seemed incongruous, not to mention silly. If they wanted to do that, the film should have developed that aspect of their relationship much sooner. Perhaps a flashback, or a scene that foreshadowed the emotionally dippi-ness that we were about to get.

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Carl Reiner
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Not that this ruined the movie by any means. I still liked it a lot, and found it to be an entertaining night out that can be appreciated by broad audience.

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Elliott Gould
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Brad Pitt and George Clooney
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