Gary Ross is a relatively competent name when we think of the massive Hollywood film industry. Despite not having worked on a large scale in the directing chair, Ross was responsible for the first iteration of the franchise. 🇧🇷Hunger Games’ and also by the script of the dramedy 🇧🇷Pleanstville – Life in Black and White’, one of the most engaging narratives audiences have ever had the pleasure of watching. Two years after his last project, he returned to headline a new story that would have numerous problems to flesh out – including the fact that it functions as a remake-sequel one of the best known trilogies: 🇧🇷Eleven men and a secret’🇧🇷
First, we must remember that the feature film signed by Steven Soderbergh in 2001 it already functioned as a reinterpretation of the “classic” starring Frank Sinatra in the 60s. Its versatility for the big screen rose applaudably, since it transformed a bland plot into something pleasant, intelligent and dynamic and that yielded two sequences without the same shine. So how could Ross base himself on the same premise and a similar microcosm without losing the glam, originality and especially your own filmic identity? It’s almost obvious to think about these questions when we look at the trailers and announcements of 🇧🇷Eight Women and a Secret’ – but fortunately the director managed to deliver a very interesting and satisfying audiovisual piece in almost all its aspects.
The new venture into the franchise brings the charismatic and sagacious Deborah “Debbie” Ocean (Sandra Bullock), sister of notorious scammer Danny (George Clooney, whose character suffers an apparent tragedy, but remains in everyone’s memory). Like her brother, Debbie had been arrested for participating in a fake art sales scheme, serving five years in jail before being released on parole for good behavior – her first monologue already draws a parallel with Danny for the lies of ” look for a job, make friends and not get in trouble anymore”. And the funniest thing about this short prologue is that she doesn’t even wait five minutes to step outside the prison to put her newest plan into action.
Following the standards of the original trilogy, our anti-heroine needs a team of experts to proceed with each of the steps – and the first member emerges in the always welcome figure of Cate Blanchett as Lou, Debbie’s best friend and partner. The two meet again in the most comical way possible – for all the contradictory reasons you can imagine (in front of their brother’s grave) – and then set off to discriminate the details necessary for them to manage to steal a precious artifact: the Toussaint, necklace of fifty diamond carats valued at over 150 million dollars that immediately takes over from the scammer’s perspective. However, instead of following in Danny’s footsteps and breaking into the cartiershe decides to immerse herself in the fabulous world of celebrities and invade the annual Met Gala and steal it during the event.
The cast of the film is something to be admired mainly for the return of some names that had fallen into oblivion – either for the lack of versatility on the scene or for the simple distance. Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway return for yet another partnership as fashion stylist Rose Weil and actress socialite Daphne Kluger, respectively. The two star in numerous scenes together – and the dialogues even serve as certain barbs that dialogue with the conflicts unfolded in real life (a great way to re-establish friendships, by the way). Watered down to pure comedy and complete tragicomic irreverence, the two people have their arcs outlined as much as possible without stealing attention from the main and other supporting background. Hathaway emphatically returns for one of the best roles of his career and proves capable of indulging in both drama and comedy at the snap of a finger.
The whole story is thought out in the smallest detail – and even though it unfolds in a more timid and monotonous way in the first act, it saves the potential it carries for future moments; and yes, even with the narrative conventions of the genre in question, the script signed by the director together with Olivia Milch, is based on dialogic impossibilities that, for the cosmos belonging to the characters, works in the most adverse of situations. Now, Sarah Paulson brings housewife and ex-con Tammy to life and manages to get a job at the gigantic magazine vogue just to get access to the Met Gala guest arrangement – where else would that be possible?
Of course, perfection is far from being achieved, and even an amazing cast like this can’t overshadow all the lapses. Working well in their respective bubbles – and with the exception of Blanchett and Bullock who create sparks at various points in the plot – the team known as Ocean’s Eight doesn’t have the same chemistry seen in the original trilogy. However, we cannot deny that his participation and the development of his characters goes far beyond what is presented in 🇧🇷Eleven Men’and none seem to vanish on purpose. And we cannot deny that Ross pays homage to Soderbergh by emulating his perspectives and imagery constructions, from the close ups mandatory to the diligent and energetic montage whose function is to keep the spectator apprehensive and attentive to each step taken – however, the sudden cuts get to bother at a certain moment and end up indirectly distracting our attention.
‘Eight Women and a Secret’ it is a spin off Great fun that works for the most part. Keeping ties with the predecessor films and making some hilarious inserts to endorse the newest narrative, Ross earned several points by accomplishing a feat that seemed impossible. And yes, it is very likely that Debbie Ocean will return – after all, the number eight must not have been chosen by chance, right?