Thursday, December 16, 2004

Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve is shamelessly self-indulgent but what a whale of a ride it is! Actually, correction!. It's a whale of a ride in most parts but it peters out early and comes to a huge thudding halt half an hour before it ends. Perhaps because it's because the story is criminally underconstructed but then - who noticed the story anyway? The film's strengths are it's in-jokes, its fabulously glamorous stars, and its jumpy syntax. On the offside, there are too many in-jokes and the jumpy syntax, even if it's constructor is Soderbergh, cannot pull up the movie when it's narrative sags.

I loved the jokes though. At the beginning when the gang gathers to think of another heist, the members object to being called "Ocean's Eleven"; "We were all equal contributors, who made you the proprietor?" someone says. Then there's Julia Roberts who dissapears in about the fifth minute and returns towards the end for a brilliant scene thats almost worth the price of the ticket. The actors attain a kind of movie-star glamor thats rare and the movie shows them off, spectacular clothes and everything. (Which is fine with me, by the way. Sometimes, actors are just more interesting than the characters they play, unless the actor happens to be Tom Cruise when it just becomes irritating.) After Troy, a relaxed Brad Pitt is heart-throbbingly sexy; he and Zeta-Jones sizzle in their scenes together. My own favorite though was Matt Damon, who has perfected an earnest demeanor and geeky delivery, while at the same time, being completely in on the joke. (his delivery of the phrase "you mean .... morally wrong?" brought me down completely). Damon should seriously consider doing some comedy.

All that said, the movie is however 30 minutes too long and wore me out in the end. Soderbergh shoots with a jazzy syntax that he must have had great fun playing with but the last thirty minutes are just too much. Writer George Nolfi must have finally run of ideas. But hey, it was great while it lasted.

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