Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Glamorous Life of a Thief

The old saying that revenge is a dish best served cold simply is not true. For George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and the rest of the Ocean's 13 cast serve it up cool and smokey. If there is one thing that the original Rat Pack and the new one teach us it is that being a theif is glamorous and sexy.

In this third installment in the Ocean remakes the old world meets the modern with style. Danny Ocean (Clooney) and his companions return to Las Vegas to seek revenge on behalf of their dear friend Reuben (Elliot Goul), who has been duped and left nearly dead by the villanous hotel owner Willie Bank (Al Pacino). The gang runs into one problem after another in an attempt to steal back the money Reuben put into the hotel before Bank gave him the boot. But with each problem comes a twist, a laugh, and some of that classic Sinatra style.

The central theme of the film seems to be that "old" is still cool in today's hyped up world. Throughout the movie the characters reference the way things use to be: Casinos use to be smaller, though "they felt big" says Rusty (Brad Pitt), life use to be simpler, and Sinatra's hand meant something. Those who shook it and were still alive had an instant connection, a trust, an unspoken appreciation for one another. But all that is gone. Bank says "Screw Sinatra's hand," and builds his gigantic hotel, puts in his amazing artficial intellegince security system, and runs Reuben into the ground. According to theif consultant Roman Nagel (Eddi Izzard) Ocean and his gang are all "analog players in a digital world."

But with swagger and cool the gang shows just how smooth, stylish, and present "old" is. Even Reuben, after coming "back to life," states very plainly from behind his ruffled 50s style shirt "the moment you start becoming embarrased of who you are, you lose yourself." It's a movie that reminds us that old is still cool.

Another worldview conveyed by the film is the power and importance of loyalty and friendship. Although it is completely overshadowed by the glamour of the heist, it is only Reuben's friends, particularly letters from Basher (Don Cheadle), that keep him alive and give him the needed motivation to come back. Friendship and loyalty are powerful tools.

Ultimatley the film does have flaws, such as its glorified view of thievery. Though I don't suspect any viewers will be tempted to pull off a jewel heist after seeing it there is something to be said for a movie that forces you to root for crooks. But that is another topic. In short, since I've belabored this reveiw already, the film is fun and certainly "cool," but I can't help but feel bad, as my friend Rich puts it, for rooting for the crooks.

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