Ocean's Thirteen and the "Enormity of Success"
- Friday, June 08, 2007
It’s up to the Ocean’s gang to get even with Bank. They hatch a plot to drain Bank’s new casino of winnings on its opening night, and to deny him the coveted Five Diamond rating earned by his other hotels.
Back in action are Rusty (Brad Pitt), Linus (Matt Damon), Basher (Don Cheadle), Saul (Carl Reiner) and Virgil (Casey Affleck), who carry out a complex plan involving specially manufactured dice, pseudo earthquakes, false diamonds, a fake nose and some bad hairpieces. Ocean brings the plan to fruition with the financial assistance of Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), who demands Bank’s diamonds in return. The diamond snatching plot pits Linus against Bank’s savviest employee, Abigail Sponder (Ellen Barkin), who, with a little chemical assistance, finds herself unable to keep her hands off Linus.
Financial ruin is only part of Ocean’s scheme. He ensures that the hotel evaluator responsible for Bank’s sought after Five Diamond rating is made physically miserable for much of the pic’s running time.
Ocean’s Thirteen, like its predecessors, moves briskly for a while, but movie-star magnetism that made the earlier chapters watchable grows thin in Thirteen, leaving the film in neutral as it draws to a grand finale, and the accumulation of scenes involving people walking and talking to each other begins to take a toll.
That these slickly made films would prove so entertaining to so many, while being so inconsequential, is a little disturbing. We’re supposed to root for these attractive movie stars as they commit wrongdoing, even though wrong has been done to them. But that’s not the biblical prescription for such behavior. “Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else” (1 Thessalonians 5:15), and “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic” (Luke 6:29).
Despite a few nice moments and performers who clearly are having fun with these roles, Ocean’s Thirteen teaches us nothing and leaves us no better off than before we watched it. It’s a diversion that takes us down the wrong path.
- Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; multiple profanities.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Drinking and smoking.
- Sex/Nudity: Female hotel employees are instructed to raise their skirts a few inches; a woman’s dress reveals cleavage; an unseen substance makes a female hotel employee sex-crazed; some sexual banter; kissing.
- Violence: Pervasive crime, pitting one type of criminal against another; a labor strike includes the lighting and throwing of Molotov cocktails and high-powered hoses turned upon rioters, but these scenes are supposed to be amusing.
- Illness: A hotel guest is deliberately sickened and given a bug-infested room, causing him to vomit, break out in a rash, and suffer in other visible ways.
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