Rolling an impossible thirteen with two dice already on the table, Ocean's Thirteen, Steven Soderberghâ€™s practically critic-proof third entry into the Oceanâ€™s canon of heist movies marks a return to both the form of the original film and its Las Vegas setting.
The sequel, Ocean's Twelve, sprawled in terms of narrative and location and felt diluted and lacking because of it. In the one true City of Sin itâ€™s effortless; each member of this eclectic team of thieves distinguishing himself wonderfully, especially the talented Affleck whose comfortable, playful banter with Caan is like sparring sessions ahead of the main event: Clooney and Pitt.
Say what you want about these two, theyâ€™re practically Hollywood gentry. Theyâ€™re stylish; they lounge like the most consummate lizards. When theyâ€™re on-screen it feels like youâ€™re watching rehearsals, never sure which lines are improvised. We donâ€™t flow into their scenes; we break in, the punch line to some fabulous joke just delivered; the opening frustratingly out of reach. What seems extraneous is actually the main pleasure of the film. Itâ€™s narrative as play, and all the more pleasingly audacious for it, making plot twists or surprises as inconsequential as the dust flicked from a swingerâ€™s lapel.
Itâ€™s ephemeral, a taste of the fun these actors must be having behind the scenes, but weâ€™re not talking base MTV reality here, this is drunken nostalgia for the old players of Vegas. As the leads emulate Sinatra and Martin like never before, they, along with the double-crossed Reuben, the catalyst of the plot, represent the old moral code of Vegas, facing down the perversion of Vegasâ€™s fine history by the vulgar Willie Banks and his prestige without style industry. Itâ€™s almost ironic that the usually boorish Pacino pulls off an almost subdued turn as the aforementioned Banks.