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Ocean's Eleven - Do You Want to Rob a Casino?
Dec 14, 2001 (Updated Jun 8, 2007)
Review by Marie Dragonfire
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Great cast and story
Cons:A few things are unresolved. Some characters weren't in enough of the movie
The Bottom Line: Ocean's Eleven is a wonderful, enjoyable movie with an all star cast. One of the best movies I have seen this year.
Ocean's Eleven is a remake of a movie that was originally made in the 1960's staring the Rat Pack. I've never seen the original. In fact, I had never even heard of the movie until about a year ago when I heard about this version being made. I was intrigued by the movie when I heard about the cast. Most movies anymore only have one or two big name stars in a movie and that is it. Ocean's Eleven is full of stars. As I heard more about the plot, I became more interested in the movie. I really wanted to see it. It looked like it would be good. I wasn't disappointed.
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George Clooney - Daniel Ocean
Brad Pitt - Rusty
Andy Garcia - Terry Benedict
Matt Damon - Linus Caldwell
Julia Roberts - Tess
Eddie Jeminson - Livingston Dell
Bernie Mac - Frank Catton
Don Cheadle - Basher Tarr
Scott Caan - Turk Malloy
Casey Affleck - Virgil Malloy
Elliot Gould - Ruben Tischkoff
Shaobo Qin - Yen
Steven Soderbergh - Director
The movie is rated PG-13. It is about two hours long - I can't remember the exact running time now. There are some action scenes, a few explosions, but really there is no violence in this movie. No nudity. There is some swearing, but not very much. I think I heard the word that rhymes with luck once during the movie. Yen has one line late in the movie, and I think that word was part of it, but it was hard to understand him, so I may be wrong.
Daniel Ocean has just been released from prison. He was convicted for some sort of robbery, but the specifics weren't told. He leaves the prison in the tuxedo he was wearing when he was arrested. The only thing that was in his little envelope for belongings was his wedding ring. His wife left him right before he was arrested. Danny already has plans for another job when he gets out. He sets his plan in motion when he meets up briefly with an old friend, Frank Catton. Frank is working at a dealer in a casino. He is using the name Ramon because he couldn't get hired under his own name. The two men talk and Danny finds out where another friend, Rusty is. Danny checks in with his parole officer on the phone, saying he is staying out of trouble, not drinking, and he wouldn't dream of leaving town. He is off to Los Angeles after he gets off the phone to see Rusty.
Rusty and Danny worked together in the past, though it is never said just what sort of job they did. Rusty is currently teaching a group of young actors how to play poker. The young actors are Topher Grace, Joshua Jackson, Holly Marie Combs, Barry Watson, and Shane West. I think they were supposed to be playing themselves, but I'm not totally sure. None of them seem to be catching onto the game too fast. They all got really excited when one of them had all red cards. Now I don't know a lot about poker, but I do know that just having all red cards doesn't mean anything. Danny ends up joining in the game, making huge bets. Rusty uses this as an opportunity to teach the young actors about bluffing. Rusty tells them Danny is obviously bluffing. The pot keeps getting bigger. When the hand is over, Danny wins. After they leave the club, Danny and Rusty talk. Danny shares his plan. They will get together a group of men and rob three casinos in Las Vegas. The casinos in question, The Mirage, the MGM Grand and the Bellagio are all owned by the same man, Terry Benedict. The three casinos all use the same very secure vault to store their money. Danny's plan is to rob the vault.
Danny and Rusty start making plans. It will take a complex plan, with several men working on different aspects of it to pull it off successfully. They will need money to put their plan into action, so they go see Ruben Tischkoff. Ruben owned and ran a casino for several years until Terry pushed him out of business. Terry has plans to demolish that casino and build something new on the site. Ruben is not to happy about being put out of business. When he hears the plan, he thinks Danny and Rusty are nuts until he finds out which casinos they are planning to rob. He changed his mind and agreed to provide the money to back the operation.
Danny and Rusty then work on getting the group of men together. Frank transfers to one of the casinos in Las Vegas. He would be the inside man, and get whatever information he could about the casino and the security. Livingston Dell is an electronics expert. The FBI has used him and his equipment on some stakeouts. He will be in charge of getting into the Bellagio's security system so they can tap into the video from the security cameras. Basher Tarr works with explosives. He has to do something to knock the power out, plus cause some commotion that will help as a diversion. Turk and Virgil Malloy are drivers. They also do some other things to help with the plan. Saul Bloom is an older con man who retired to Florida the year before because he had an ulcer. Rusty goes to see him and tell him the plan. Saul then goes to Vegas to take part. His role in the robbery is discovered a bit later in the movie. Linus Caldwell is a pickpocket. He father was a well known con man. He will have a few different things to do in the course of implementing the plan. Yen is a small Chinese acrobat. His part will be explained later too.
The men all meet at Ruben's house and Danny goes over the plan in more detail. He explains how the three casinos all use the one vault, which is under the Bellagio. That casino and hotel will be their base of operations. Danny also tell how there is a law that requires that the casinos have enough money in their vaults to cover all the chips that are on the floor. I can't remember how much he said it usually would be during the week. He said there would be about 60 million in the vault on a normal weekend. On a fight weekend, like was coming up in a few nights, that amount would easily be 150 million, or more. They will divide the money evenly between all the men. Then Danny gets into more of what they will be up against to pull the job off. Guards, security, cameras, more guards with guns, fingerprint and voice id - which he and Rusty say they can't get - motion detectors, more guards, and alarms. Danny doesn't explain exactly how they are supposed to get into the vault, get the money, and get back out of the casino with the money at this point. That is actually never discussed by any of the men. It is just shown eventually. All the men decide to take part in this plan. They start preparing, casing the casino, getting down the routines of the security guards and Terry. During this time, it is shown that Danny's ex-wife, Tess is now involved with Terry. Danny wants her back. She isn't interested. Terry is not happy to see Danny and Tess talking, so he has his goons following Danny around. That adds some complications.
This is a really good, enjoyable movie. I loved it. It is a good movie to watch to escape for a while. It isn't a serious movie that is trying to solve the world's problems, but it is very entertaining. There are dramatic moments, comedic moments, a few romantic moments, and some suspenseful moments. Overall, I think the movie is a drama, but there are several funny scenes in the movie. It is really funny when Rusty is trying to teach the young actors poker. They are all so clueless about the game.
The movie is just about two hours long, but it didn't seem that long to me at all. The movie had a fairly fast pace, especially when all the men were being introduced, but it wasn't so fast that you couldn't follow what was going on. The pace seemed to be just right to me.
This movie is a remake. I have seen other remakes where they completely ruined the movie. I have seen others where they stay pretty true to the original. I have seen some that I enjoyed, but never saw the original. Ocean's Eleven is part of that last group for me. I really hadn't heard about the original until I started hearing some about this version being made. What attracted my attention at first was the big name stars who were going to be in it. Then I heard more on the plot of the movie and thought it sounded good. I really can't say for sure if this version is the same as the original, or if it was changed greatly. I have read a little bit about the original recently, and from that, it seems like the only thing that is the same is the plan to rob some casinos and the name of the character of Danny Ocean.
I did like the plot of this movie. It does seem like something someone may try to attempt some time, or at least think about. Casinos have a lot of money on hand all the time, so it is logical that they would be targets for robberies. I'm not saying I think it's possible that it could be pulled off - but who knows - just that it seems very likely, to me anyway, that someone could get the idea to try something like this since casinos have so much money. There are a lot of criminals out there in the world. Banks with a lot less money are hit all the time. Casinos are a logical target for something like this.
I told a friend about this movie a few days ago. She said it wasn't something she would want to see because it sounded just like 3000 Miles to Graceland to her. Ocean's Eleven and 3000 Miles to Graceland are nothing alike. The only thing that is the same is that a casino is robbed in both. That is it. They are robbed in very different ways. If you saw 3000 Miles to Graceland and didn't like it that much, don't let that stop you from seeing Ocean's Eleven. The movies are completely different. I'll explain this in more detail in the next few paragraphs.
When I saw 3000 Miles to Graceland, I thought it was a unique idea they had to rob a casino. I had never seen a movie where that happened before. Then I found out that the original Ocean's Eleven had that as part of the plot when it was made in the 1960's. I liked Ocean's 11 better than 3000 Miles to Graceland. In Ocean's Eleven, the planning and preparation for the robbery are shown in the movie. The actual robbery isn't attempted until closer to the end of the movie. In 3000 Miles to Graceland very little of the planning and preparation for the robbery is shown in the movie. We see the men meet up, and then head into Vegas, and the robbery happens, near the beginning of the movie. The rest of the movie is focused on the after effects of the robbery.
Personally, I think the plan that was used in Ocean's Eleven was better, and had more of a chance of working without anyone getting hurt than the plan that was used in 3000 Miles to Graceland. It seemed like Danny's plan was thought out better. He had lots of time while he was in prison to think on the details. Once he and Rusty got together again, they immediately were working on the plan, getting blueprints of the casinos, figuring out how many men would be needed for the job, and what each man would do. All of the men had some specific things to do. They have a complex plan that has been well thought out. In 3000 Miles to Graceland, it doesn't seem like the plan was that elaborate. They all get dressed up like Elvis, have big guns, and start shooting anything that moves when something goes wrong. It just doesn't seem like there was as much thought put into that plan. Of course, there could have been, but since that is not shown in the movie, we really don't know how long it took them to come up with their plan. The one thing that I did like was them dressing up like Elvis since there was a huge Elvis look a like convention going on at the time, so they could blend in somewhat that way. At least until they started shooting up the place.
Kevin Costner's character - I can't remember any of the character names now - in 3000 Miles to Graceland was a bit of a psycho. He was very volatile. He couldn't seem to keep his cool or stay calm. His answer was to use violence to get out of sticky situations. The men in the group that robbed the casino, didn't seem to trust each other too much either. As more things happened, the little bit of trust seemed to vanish completely. To pull off something like they had planned, they needed to be able to trust each other. They didn't, and that contributed to other things that happened in the movie. I am being a little vague here so that I don't ruin the movie for anyone who may be wanting to see it.
Danny seemed to be intelligent. He put a lot of thought into his plan and how it would be carried out. He didn't rely on guns or force to get the job done. No one on his crew had a gun. Danny stayed calm and cool even when it seemed like something wasn't going right. He didn't react in anger. He stayed calm, and focused on the plan. There was no violence in this movie. There were a few explosions, but that is it. All the men involved in the plan trusted each other. They trusted each other to do their parts. That is very important to their plan. There is no way this plan would work without trust.
Some of the movie takes place in different location, like a prison, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Florida. Most of the movie takes place in Las Vegas. I read somewhere that parts of the movie were filmed in the actual casinos. That really adds a lot to the movie, making it seem more realistic. The demolition of an actual casino was incorporated into the movie. I think it was the Desert Inn. I have seen it in other movies set in Vegas before. That hotel was supposed to be the one Ruben owned that Terry put out of business. There were some other things that added to the movie, like the music. The music that was used in different scenes fit in perfectly with the movie. Some of the characters wear some interesting outfits. Like the first time Ruben is shown, he is wearing several gold chains, dark glasses, and a matching robe and short outfit in some interesting colors. Rusty had his own unique sense of style in this movie. Some of his suits were a little flashy, but they fit the character. And Brad Pitt managed to look good in them too. Danny just had this classy look about him. So did Tess in her few scenes. All of the costumes used in the movie seemed to fit perfectly with the character that was wearing them.
The acting in the movie was really good. They all seemed like they had fun with their roles. Some of them didn't have as many scenes, like Julia Roberts, but they were good in the scenes they had. Brad Pitt was wonderful in his role as Rusty. He was the second in command in the plan, and he played it just right, not over shadowing George Clooney. And he pulled off wearing a really bad looking wig in one scene. George did pretty good in this movie. I think it is one of her better roles. I like him, and have for years - since long before he was on E.R., but his acting was not the best in some of his roles. That isn't the case here. Andy Garcia was great as Terry. The way he delivered his lines added so much to my perception of his character.
None of the characters are developed a great deal, but with this many characters, that is to be expected. If all the characters were fully developed, then the movie would have been at least twice as long. I thought they were fairly well developed. Not a lot is know about the pasts of most of the men. Really, not that much is know about Danny's past, just that he was in jail and his wife left him. One thing I would really like to know is how all the men knew each other before they got together for this plan. That is never really explained. Linus never worked with them before, but it is explained why Danny and Rusty decided to see if he was interested. Several of the characters were given some little things they did a lot. Like Rusty was eating a lot. Linus seemed to be always chewing gum. Saul was popping antacids like they were candy and sweating a lot. Basher had a unique accent. I never did figure out where it was supposed to be from.
Danny Ocean - He was convicted for a robbery 4 or 5 years before the movie starts - the details are never told. He gets out on parole and starts putting together a group of men to hit some casinos in Vegas that same day. He is the leader of the group. His plan is well thought out. He stays calm and cool no matter what happens. He does not panic. He still loves his ex-wife, and hopes they can start over.
Rusty - A friend of Danny's. It is never explained how they knew each other. He helps Danny with the planning for the job. He is like the second in command. He eats a lot. He is always well dressed in suits, even if some of them are a tad flashy. He stays calm and cool too.
Frank Catton - Another friend of Danny's. It isn't explained how they knew each other either. He is working at a casino some where - I think Atlantic City, but I'm not sure - when the movie begins. He is working under the name of Ramon because he can't get a job in a casino with his own name. Once he is part of the crew, he develops a health condition that requires the drier climate of the desert, so he transfers to Vegas where he works in the Bellagio. He watches the other employees and gets their routines down.
Basher Tarr - Explosives expert. He some how knows Danny and Rusty. He has a unique accent. I have no idea where he is from. He is supposed to knock out the power, and also cause a bit of a commotion to help as a diversion from what is really going on.
Livingston Dell - Electronics expert. I think he worked with Danny and Rusty in the past. Recently, he had been working with the FBI on stakeouts. He was responsible for taping into the security cameras. He seems to be a little nervous at times.
Turk and Virgil Malloy - Brothers. They are drivers. They have little spats now and then. They have a few different roles to play in their part of the plan.
Ruben Tischkoff - He owned a casino in Vegas for years until Terry pushed him out of business. He knew Danny and Rusty somehow. He becomes involved in the plan once he learns that Terry owns the hotels Danny is planning to rob. Ruben provides the money for the set up and planning they need to do to carry out the plan.
Saul Bloom - Older con man who retired to Florida the year before because he has an ulcer. Rusty goes to Florida to recruit him for the job. He eats antacids like they were candy. Also, in a few scenes, he sweats a lot.
Yen - Chinese acrobat. Rusty got him involved in the plan. He doesn't speak much English. His part in the plan is revealed later in the movie.
Linus Caldwell - Young pickpocket from Chicago. He is the son of a famous con man. His dad recommenced him to Danny for the job. He is eager to be involved in different things the men have to do before they hit the vault. He has a few different things to do leading up to the night of the hit, and on that night. He seems to chew gum all the time.
Tess - Danny's ex-wife. She left him right before he was sent to jail. She thinks he is a liar. She is not happy to see him when he turns up in Vegas. She in now involved with Terry. She runs a museum in his casino.
Terry Benedict - Owner of the three casinos that Danny and his crew are planning to rob. He has a routine and he sticks with it. He knows what is going on in his casinos. He goes after people who cross him. He had someone who was caught cheating in one of his casinos sent to jail for 10 years and he bankrupted the tractor dealership of one of the man's relatives. He is not a very nice person. He seems to treat Tess more like a possession than a girlfriend.
This is a great movie that I highly recommend. People who like heist movies should like this. If you are a fan of any of the actors, you should see this movie. If you happen to hate one of the actors, then this probably isn't the movie you want to see.
Ocean's Twelve ~ Ocean's Thirteen ~
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