One thing that gamblers love doing when they’re not wagering is watch gambling movies and one of the greatest productions in this regard is the 2001 Ocean’s Eleven, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon.
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Designed as a high-profile remake of the 1960 Rat Pack film of the same name, Ocean’s Eleven takes things to another level in terms of cinematography and turns the second-rate production into gold.
While the original Ocean’s Eleven was basically an excuse for Frank Sinatra and his accomplices (Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr) to party in Vegas and turned into an unimpressive caper comedy that lacked humor and suspense, the 2001 flick manages to mix traditional caper rhythms with comic, neatly written lines and deliver a funny and entertaining popcorn movie.
In short, the plot is as simple as this: 3 casinos, 11 men, 150 million dollars, 1 chance to pull it off. In long, there is more to it: Danny Ocean, played by Clooney, is a con-artist and thief who is trying to orchestrate the biggest, most elaborate casino heist Las Vegas has ever experienced. He gets help from his 11 accomplices and plans to do this the day he gets out of a New Jersey jail on parole.
The film offers great insight into the behind-the-scenes action at real-life casinos in Las Vegas, considering that Ocean attempts to rob the vault that houses the cash of three casinos and the action was shot in real casinos – the Mirage, the MGM Grand and the Bellagio.
As you would expect, the rat pack runs into some obstacles, the most important of which is the fact that Danny’s ex-wife, Tess, is currently Terry Benedict’s girlfriend. Nonetheless, the dapper, charismatic robber is not deterred. On the contrary, he plans to have his cake and eat it.
The plot, though not very elaborate and well thought-out, is entertaining enough to keep viewers guessing and build up suspense. The dialogue is clever, crisp, delivered like a ping pong match at points, and it does include some comedy and provokes chuckles here and there. Also, proper lingo has been included, which makes things look very authentic, and gamblers will appreciate this.
Another plus from my point of view is that the characters are well developed, as every one of them has a past, which beefs up the plot. Also, the music is very well chosen to add a little bit of drama and emotions to every scene.
All in all, the movie is good, is entertaining, but it’s in no way or form a masterpiece, so if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t dive in with big expectations.