Ocean’s Thirteen (2007) – Steven Soderbergh

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Matt Damon are back for one last go-round as Danny Ocean, Rusty, and Linus in Ocean’s Thirteen. The story brings them back to Las Vegas after their globetrotting in the second film, and once again, it’s all about just settling back and having fun with a cast that seems to be really enjoying themselves.

Sleek, relaxed, and stylish, this film like its predecessors is all style over substance, but it’s still fun as there is delightful banter, fun sequences, and lots of panache. Al Pacino steps into the series as the baddie, having double-crossed one of Danny’s crew, Reuben (Elliot Gould), in a hotel deal that gave the man a heart attack.

The team is assembled for revenge just as Pacino’s Willy Bank is preparing to open the next big hotel on the strip, The Bank. He’s convinced he’s going to win the illustrious Five Diamond Award for his latest hotel, he’s won them consistently, so Danny and the rest target the man’s ego.

But they’re gonna need just a touch more help. So they reach out to Benedict (Andy Garcia) who they know they can’t trust but may be just the person they need to play the game.

Julia Roberts and Catherine Zeta-Jones are blatantly missing from the film though Danny says it’s not their fight, which I guess is supposed to excuse their absence. In their stead, Ellen Barkin gets to put in a fun performance as Bank’s right hand, Sponder, who ends up being Linus’ target and the key the pulling the whole thing off.

Once again, the series shows you one thing, misdirecting you. The audience knows it’s not getting the whole story until the final few minutes of the film, but watching it play out, seeing the way the actors, and their characters play is what makes it fun.

This series is just supposed to be light, fun, and a reminder that loyalty and friendship are part of what make you rich, not that any of Danny’s team has forgotten that, or lack the funds to call themselves well-off.

I love throwing these movies on and just settling in for the ride. I love the look, the production design, the clothes, and the friendships portrayed on the screen. Despite their trappings, every single person on Danny’s crew is relatable to the audience they all have problems, family, and struggles, we could see ourselves fitting in with them.

Sure they’re all con artists, thieves and criminals, but in the films we’ve ever only seen them go after bad people, so we can happily sign off on their actions because the villains deserve what they get.

Damn these movies are fun.

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