Dir: Steven Soderbergh. US. 2004.
Warner Bros and
Village Roadshow can count on another worldwide hit with Oceanís Twelve, the sequel to the 2001 blockbuster Oceanís Eleven which grossed $183.4m in
North America and $267.3m in international territories. With global movie stars
Clooney, Pitt, Damon, Roberts and now Catherine Zeta-Jones heading the cast and
a hip marketing campaign based around the super-cool tagline ĎTwelve Is The New
Elevení, the concept alone is enough to drive audiences to their local multiplex.
The fact that
Steven Soderbergh and his stellar cohorts have delivered a sloppy, plotless
film which neglects its storytelling obligations to the audience in favour of
self-referential smugness will not damage the massive openings around the world.
But the ultimate box office numbers wonít match those of the original, once
word spreads that this ride has fewer pleasures than its predecessor.
once again serves as his own cameraman, clearly needs a challenge greater than
this. Since 2000 when his double-hander of Erin
Brockovich and Traffic vaulted
him to the top of the Hollywood tree, his output has been prolific but patchy,
to say the least. In Oceanís Twelve,
he employs all the tricks Ė shaky, handheld camera, multiple colour tones,
flashy cutting Ė but thereís not an iota of real danger and consequently no
suspense. Thatís a big problem in a giant caper movie like this one.
actors, who are obviously having a ball making the film, play it mostly for
laughs and, in the final heist sequence, the film buckles under the weight of
its own conceit by having Julia Robertsí character Tess Ocean pretend to beÖ
Julia Roberts. Even Bruce Willis pops up as himself and thinks Tess is Roberts.
Itís a moment in which any pretence that the director and actors are trying to
spin a compelling yarn is shattered.
The challenge for
the band of lovable rogues this time is to pay back the $160m they stole in Oceanís Eleven. Helped by a mysterious
informer, Vegas entrepreneur Terry Benedict (Garcia) tracks down each member of
the group who have scattered across America with their respective stashes. The
11 assemble and realize that they have to pay back Benedict and must come up
with a new plan.
Led by Danny Ocean
(Clooney) and Rusty Ryan (Pitt), they head to Amsterdam where they score a job
stealing a valuable stock certificate from an agoraphobic millionaire (Krabbe,
blink and youíll miss him). But they are pipped to the post by Europeís most
accomplished thief The Night Fox who has stolen the document before them.
Lahirir (Zeta-Jones), an agent for Interpol (or Europol as itís dubbed here)
who has a romantic past with Ryan. Sheís on the trail of both The Night Fox and
Oceanís mob as they compete to steal a priceless Faberge egg which is being
transported from its home in Paris to be exhibited in Rome. The Night Fox, a
European playboy (Cassel), makes a bet with Ocean that if Ocean can
successfully steal the egg, he will personally take care of his debt to
But the plan
appears to go awry when Oceanís wife Tess (Roberts) arrives in Rome to help
them out and is revealed as an impostor imitating Julia Roberts at the opening
of the egg exhibit. Ocean, his wife and his crew, are thrown into jail. In the
clumsily structured final reveal, we discover that all is not as it seems.
only star in the film who plays her role seriously, outshines her male
counterparts. Other newcomers to the formula are Cassel as the Night Fox,
Robbie Coltrane and Eddie Izzard as criminal lowlifes, and even Albert Finney
who appears as a retired criminal mastermind.
Of course no
expense is spared in the production, and the extensive use of the European
locations in Rome, Paris and Amsterdam is reminiscent of lush 60s caper movies
like Charade, Topkapi and The Italian Job. Ironically, a sequel is
also being plotted at Paramount for the far more effective Euro-caper remake The Italian Job.
Prod cos: JW
Productions, Section Eight
Worldwide dist: Warner Bros,
Village Roadshow Pictures
Exec prods: John Hardy, Susan
Ekins, Bruce Berman.
Prod: Jerry Weintraub.
Scr: George Nolfi.
DoP: Steven Soderbergh.
Prod des: Philip Messina.
Ed: Stephen Mirrione.
Mus: David Holmes.
Main cast: George Clooney, Brad
Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Don
Cheadle, Bernie Mac, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Vincent Cassel, Carl Reiner,
Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison, Robbie Coltrane, Eddie Izzard, Albert Finney.