Screenplay is villain of the piece
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Matt Damon,
125 mins 12A
STEVEN Soderbergh had it all made, or almost all. He had directed the successful and exciting Ocean's Eleven. He had been given a galaxy of talent. The producers had financed him to go on location to Amsterdam, Paris, Monte Carlo, Lake Como, Rome, Sicily and Chicago.
Catherine Zeta-Jones was comely and attractive, as senior Europol officers no doubt are. George Clooney was as smooth as could be. Julia Roberts, playing a woman playing Julia Roberts, was very like the Julia Roberts we know and love.
He got a rather grand guest appearance from Bruce Willis. Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were both pleasant and articulate. Many other actors filled his screen, and they all did well.
So what went wrong? As usual the villain of the piece was the screenplay. In barest outline, the plot is about the perpetrators of the heist in Ocean's Eleven being given a few days to repay $160million plus interest.
They decide on a burglary in Amsterdam - of the first share certificate ever created - and, later, on another in Rome. But the Rome plot, which relates to a Fabergé egg, is not straightforward, since the team is by then engaged in a Masterthief competition.
There are many subplots, and at the end Zeta-Jones is reunited with her long-lost gangster father.
The significance of the dialogue is often obscure, but when the mist of obscurity clears it is only to reveal new plots and subplots which could best be described by a word nestling in a linguistic triangle between ridiculous, absurd, and plain silly.
The location shots hardly justified their cost, and the music was not up to much either.