The third and final chapter in Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean saga, Ocean’s Thirteen is his most ambitious heist film to date. He did make Logan Lucky around 10 years after this, but that was a much more grounded film than anything else. Ocean’s Thirteen, on the other hand, is absolutely wild. It’s a unique film that plays with a ton of intelligent ideas.
The film has a fantastic cast of characters, much larger than ever before. They’ve brought back familiar tropes and combined them with even more content than ever before. However, that isn’t always a good thing. Ocean’s Thirteen is by far one of the most unique, yet convoluted and overly filled heist films.
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The Movie Review
The film once again follows Danny Ocean and his gang of thieves, who’ve managed to once again get themselves stuck in dire a situation. Danny Ocean and his band of extremely smart burglars are now caught up in going against one of the biggest money moguls in Vegas; Al Pacino. Yep, Al Pacino is in this movie, playing a character called Willy Banks, who has got so much money that he wouldn’t miss it if half of it was gone.
So naturally, Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan, along with their badass gang of thieves come up with a plan to steal it all away.
Directly off the bat, the direction in this film is night and day when compared to the second film. Ocean’s Twelve was significantly weaker when put up against Ocean’s Eleven, but even Ocean’s Thirteen is a significant leap from it. Soderbergh directs the film with a unique style this time around, focusing even more so on the aesthetic than anything else.
This is a stylistic film, Peter Andrews has finally cracked the code and figured out how to make a film as complicated as an Ocean’s movie so good-looking.
Let’s talk about the performances now, starting off with Al Pacino’s portrayal of an insanely smart business tycoon. Willy Banks is a character that everyone can love, unless if you’re Danny Ocean and his 12 comrades. The characters in this film are almost the same, with the addition of Pacino, Ellen Barkin, and Jerry Weintraub.
They bring a new layer of character-oriented dramas to the films. Ocean’s films were always more about the characters rather than the actual heist. It’s always a pleasure seeing the characters being good at what they do in words and mysterious ways.
I do think that I should address the fact that Julia Roberts’ character is entirely missing from this film, and there isn’t much of an explanation for it. Her character usually brought nuance to the films, which is now severely lacking. That aspect of Danny’s life was a huge pushing point in the story and brought more character-oriented storytelling within the film as compared to the heist-focused storytelling. However, now that we don’t have that, it’s almost sad that we didn’t get to see that dynamic again.
I personally feel like the one thing that bothers me a lot about this film is that it’s based on revenge but there are no added stakes to it other than just that. Danny Ocean’s a smart guy, but Willy Banks is a smarter guy. So they just indulge in a mental tug of war to see who comes out the victor in this scenario. I would’ve preferred a more story-centric approach. However, the film is still super fun to watch so I can’t complain about anything.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, Ocean’s Thirteen is by far the closest thing to an evolution of the classic Ocean’s formula of filmmaking. It’s a film that pushes the envelope to what you can expect from director Steven Soderbergh moving forward.
He’s a man that gets things done, he’s good at what he does and his writing talents when it comes to intricate screenplays are unmatched. That is on full display here in the Ocean’s saga. Perhaps in the future, we can expect Soderbergh to take the helm again and make more Ocean’s films but for now, the trilogy is pretty much a flawed masterpiece.