Ocean's 8 (3 stars)

Ocean's 8

Pleasing, all-female spin-off that features an impressive ensemble alongside the occasional misstep

The gathering of a stellar cast for an all-female heist movie is another step in the right direction for Hollywood. Joining Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett in the impressive ensemble are Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and rapper Awkwafina (check out 'My Vag' if you're not familiar with her work).

In this Ocean's Eleven spin-off, Bullock plays Debbie Ocean (sister of Danny, played by George Clooney in Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's trilogy), who sweet-talks a parole board into releasing her from prison and then immediately sets in motion a plan to swipe a precious diamond necklace from the Met Gala.

The cast do great work across the board, with Bullock leading her gang of crooks with extreme confidence. It's a slick and fun performance that sits nicely aside Blanchett's beautifully suited Lou. The pair go way back – Blanchett is the Brad Pitt to Bullock's Clooney. Bonham Carter as a down-on-her-luck fashion designer is endearing and Hathaway has a ball playing a spoilt actress who becomes the crew's unwitting accomplice.

Rihanna instantly enthrals as a hacker with mad skills and a 90s-inspired wardrobe of dungarees and mammoth jumpers. Kaling's jeweller and Akwafina's master pickpocket get a cute moment swiping through Tinder, and Paulson is utterly charming as a housewife hiding her life of crime from her family.

Unfortunately, Gary Ross's anonymous direction doesn't add much pizzazz to these grifters' antics, with his incessant cuts to great works of art occasionally giving the sensation of watching a wacky version of The Culture Show. Daniel Pemberton's score is more successful: one of Debbie's schemes plays out to a jazzy reinterpretation of Bach's 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor'.

Watching the women hang out is mostly a pleasure, yet the film sporadically cocks it up with certain cameo choices, a needless subplot about an ex-boyfriend, and a line about why no men have been included in their heist. Who cares? Ocean's 8 aims to make a point about how women have been excluded and ignored but doesn't quite have the courage to really stick it to the man.

General release from Mon 18 Jun.

Ocean's 8

  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • US
  • 1h 50min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Gary Ross
  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter
  • UK release: 18 June 2018

Debbie Ocean (Bullock) sets in motion a plan to swipe a precious diamond necklace, and with pal Lou (Blanchett) puts together a gang of female crooks. The performances are great fun but Ross’s anonymous direction doesn’t add much, and it’s a bit let down by a needless subplot and unnecessary cameos.

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