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Ocean's Twelve
Date Posted: Saturday 22nd of January 2005
Author: Paul Stevens

As far as sequels go there are two distinct types: those that make you wonder why they even bothered and those that compliment and sometimes improve upon the original release and Oceans twelve fits firmly in to the later category. The film picks up three years after the casino heist that brought together the criminal elite in the first film, all of whom return to resume their illegal shenanigans. After Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) turns up to settle old scores the group reform to and make their way to Europe where they pull off some more ingenious heists, but all goes a foul when they find they are pitted against super thief Night Fox aka François Toulour (Vincent Cassel) who manages to always seem to be one step ahead. The arrival of the group in Amsterdam leads to detective Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) getting involved, who happens to be an old flame of Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt). When Danny Ocean (George Clooney) confronts François he finds out that they have been tricked into a contest of thieves and then things really get started.

The films main strength is the amazing cast and their ability to seem both a well integrated team while all still remaining unique characters. The outstanding bravado held between Rusty and Danny has become a lesser focal point, but the tepid chemistry between rusty and Isabel partly makes up for this. The support cast mingle between there major scenes and whilst still remaining essential to the over all dynamics of the many elaborate schemes they seem to have been somewhat sidelined from the major events. François is a classic example of over the top French stereotyping, which works very well against the more understated American team.

The film itself is visually stunning, with both atmosphere and a tempo that keeps you engrossed scene to scene; its immense locations compliment the outlandish story. The build up to the main heist is well paced and complimented by the smaller jobs the team must do to try and relieve there debts. However the film has a habit of becoming jumpy towards the end as it tries to wrap all the narrative strands that continue through out the film. With this in mind the ending is quite hard to follow as certain points are given less prominent discussion than others, but this is excusable as the film hardly needs to wrap up all the points (I doubt this is the last oceans film we will see).

The music that accompanies the many feets of thieving ingenuity is both classic and modern at the same time. With some inspired choices in terms of visual and audio matching the film makes a seamless use of the variety of music at hand with both original compositions and already established songs. However the fact that classic jazz tunes feature along side more modern dance music demonstrates the main deficiency of the film, its lack of a coherent self image. The playing out of the themes of traditional thief vs. the modern high tech master minds is brought to a head in the sequence in which they dance through a set of alarm lasers. The suspension of disbelief the film would like to create is constantly at odds with the films self reflective in-jokes, which serve to make the audience constantly aware that the super star cast are in fact super star.

Despite the film’s apparent lack of focus, questionable use of side characters and clumsy conclusion there is still much more to be enjoyed through the little gags and interplay of the main stars. The film makes clear from the out set that it knows it is cool and then repeatedly proves it to the audience, but after a while it just becomes bragging. But when has brash American cinema ever stopped us from enjoying what is essentially a good film?

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