Review by Gordon Justesen
George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Don
Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Julia Roberts, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Vincent Cassel,
Eddie Jemison, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 125 Minutes
Release Date: April 12, 2005
are we stealing?"
If 2001's remake of
Eleven was the downright perfect recipe for extravagant movie entertainment,
then Ocean's Twelve should be regarded as an outstanding second helping. The
first movie brought together a monumental cast of superstars, enlisted a truly
gifted director, and delivered what would become one of the all time great caper
movies. It even nabbed the #2 spot on my top ten list that year.
Soderbergh has reunited with the star-studded cast to end all star-studded casts
and has made a follow up film that, while not exceeding the first film, still
stands on its own as a vastly thrilling movie, with surprises of its own to
spare. The stars themselves appear to be having a blast (the film shoot was
reportedly compared to that of a summer vacation). And with the action taking
place in gorgeous European settings, it adds up to the closest one can get to
actually being there.
The story picks up
three years after the now famous Bellagio heist in Vegas. Retired thief Danny
Ocean (George Clooney) and wife Tess (Julia Roberts) are living under aliases in
Connecticut and are settling down for a quiet little life of early retirement.
That is, until Tess gets an unexpected visit from robbed casino owner Terry
Benedict (Andy Garcia), who demands that the entire 160 million, along with
interest, must be paid up in two weeks, or else face severe consequences.
each of Ocean's men around the globe in one of the film's funniest sequences.
Fighting brothers Virgil and Turk Malloy (Casey Affleck, Scott Caan) are
interrupted at Virgil's wedding rehearsal dinner; Chinese grease-man Yen (Shaobo
Qin) is caught in the middle of a domestic dispute in Miami; Frank Catton
(Bernie Mac) is tracked down at his very own nail salon; demolitions expert
Basher Tarr (Don Cheadle) is found in a London recording studio (hilarious
scene); pick-pocket auteur Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) is located in Chicago;
aging con Saul (Carl Reiner) in New York; technical wizard Livingston (Edie
Jemison) in New Orleans, and financer Reuben (Elliott Gould) in Las Vegas.
Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), who's now the proprietor of an unsuccessful hotel
operation. He gets a phone call from Benedict (a reversal on the key phone
exchange in the first movie), along with his car blown to bits in a parking lot.
No more needs to be said, as he gets the picture.
After a brief
rendezvous, and realizing that they're too hot to work anywhere in the States,
the gang agrees to flee to Amsterdam to begin pulling off some jobs. Even though
they've obviously got a lot of money to make in not so much time, Ocean and his
team don't hesitate to proceed with a first job involving the theft of an
antique bond. Only thing is, when they access the home to steal it, they realize
that someone has already beaten them to it.
It turns out that
Ocean's gang has a bit of an enemy in the form of fellow thief Francois Toulour
(Vincent Cassel), a wealthy European thief who goes under the alias of "The
Night Fox". Toulour, it also turns out, is the very individual who ratted out
the cover of Ocean and his eleven men to Benedict, resulting in their current
predicament. It was all a means to lead Ocean into accepting a challenge
proposed by Toulour.
The cause for all
of this was Toulour becoming infuriated when his mentor, perhaps the world's
greatest living thief, thought of him to be the best heistman, until hearing of
Ocean's elaborate heist in Vegas. Toulour then assumed that the only way to
determine who in fact is the best is to challenge Ocean to see who can steal a
priceless item first. If Ocean wins, Toulour agrees to pay the entire debt to
Benedict. The challenge is accepted, of course.
But Toulour isn't
the only problem the gang has to worry about. Hot on their trail is police
inspector Isabel (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whose father was a thief, and believed
to be dead, and has a personal history with Rusty. They were intimately involved
before Rusty fled when realizing she was close to discovering he committed a
theft that she was investigating.
The item in
question that is up for grabs is a Faberge Egg that is to be housed in the
Romanoff Dynasty. Ocean and his team have devised a plan to successfully steal
the egg. But the plan goes very sour when, on the day of the attempted heist,
eight of the men are intercepted by police and put in jail. It seems that
someone blew their cover once more.
With Linus, Basher,
and Turk left on their own, they come up with the rarest of heist maneuvers. It
will involve the participation of Tess, who has been told to fly to Rome at
Danny's request. I don't want to reveal much of what is done from this point
forward, except that it's a most unexpected and hilarious gesture as Soderbergh
breaks through the fourth wall with sheer delight.
The last half of Ocean's
Twelve delivers some thrilling twists and turns at a frenetic pace. I don't
want to spoil any details, partially because everything is so elaborate it would
take me three or four paragraphs to explain everything. The last revealing
segment is truly something of beauty, though it will require your attention to
everything that has gone on prior to this moment.
shot the movie himself, has definitely upped the ante on the level of style and
atmosphere. Film critic Richard Roeper noted, "the movie is like a glossy
European fashion magazine come to life." I couldn't have said it better myself.
The location shots are nothing short of magnificent, and can be considered a big
star in the movie itself.
Twelve is definitely one of
the better sequels to come around in some time. It had a lot to measure up to,
and to have the ability to provide its own bag of tricks instead of rehashing
the same plot is something to be said. Kudos to Soderbergh and co. for
delivering the goods once more.
What an amazing
presentation! WB's anamorphic transfer (Full Screen available separately) boasts
consistently sharp imaging along with standout use of colors. The result is a
remarkable piece of video as only DVD can bring. The European scenic value pays
off strongly as, I mentioned before, it will add up to the closest thing to
actually being in Amsterdam and Rome. The highest of marks all the way!
Terrific sound, as
well. The 5.1 mix takes grand advantage of every technical aspect of Soderbergh's
movie, from set pieces to the jazzy score by David Holmes. Dialogue delivery is
sharp as a blade, too. The numerous heist scenes get the best treatment in terms
of overall surround sound, especially a scene late in the movie involving laser
beams. Wonderfully done!
This was a most
unexpected letdown. The only feature is a trailer for the movie, as well as
bonus previews for The Aviator, The
Phantom of the Opera and Million
Dollar Baby. I can only hope that a Special Edition is in the works.