I can’t believe this film is this old. I also can’t believe that George Clooney looks so much better now than he did 18 years ago. Seriously, what is going on with that man? But, there we are. And I remember watching this film for the first time. It blew my mind. The twist worked really well. It’s also the film that first introduced me to my long-standing crush on Matt Damon. Before this, I didn’t give a shit about him but there was something about watching him rob Andy Garcia that obviously really did it for me. I used to watch the scene where he’s hanging above a vault shaft on repeat. A lot. Boy, he had some mighty fine arms. And I guess it’s true what they say; women like a bad boy. But I didn’t just like this film because of Matt Damon. It was a hugely entertaining film. And, as I found out, it still stands up 18 years later. Steven Soderbergh really is quite the talent. Has he actually properly retired now? I can never keep up with that man. That man has had more comebacks than The Rolling Stones at this point.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Rat Pack version of Ocean’s 11. I went through a massive Rat Pack phase when I was younger but I don’t think I saw it. If I did, it was obviously so long ago that I don’t remember. Still, it clearly didn’t make a difference to how I saw this film because I remember watching it. It came out when I was 13 and it blew my stupid teenage brain the first time I saw it. Not only the way the twist is handled but because of how well-made it was. I liked films at that age but really didn’t know a thing about them. There were things about this film that excited me and they still do. All you need to do is look at that scene where Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) is about to blow up an old casino. The entire crowd turns round apart from Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon). It’s a fucking beautiful shot.
I know this isn’t the best film ever made. It’s an entertaining and super cool film but, let’s be honest, it’s a kind of shitty story. Just your average crime caper which benefits from a massively star-studded cast and a talented man leading the way. If this had been made with lesser actors it wouldn’t have worked. If this had been made by any other director it wouldn’t have worked. But it does. As if to prove how rare a feat this film was, the two sequels never reached the same heights as the first. Even with the same cast and same director. Ocean’s 11 is a rare treat. And it embraces everything that’s good about films. It’s silly, a bit messy, and very cheesy. But it is thoroughly and unapologetically fun. You want to sit down and watch this film and that’s what counts, right?
I mean, think about it. An ex-con gets out of jail, gets his old gang back together to rob a casino. A casino that is owned by the man who is currently in a relationship with the con’s ex-wife. It’s a very ridiculous story. And the con itself, though exciting to live through, is just a bit difficult to take when you really think about it. It’s the kind of film that can only exist during its own run time. You start to unpick it and you’ll never stop. You’ll have so many questions niggling away. But, that’s the genius of this film. It doesn’t matter. It looks amazing and it does everything brilliantly. In 2001 it graced so many Top Films Ever lists. I can’t imagine its still on those lists to this day but it still amazes me. I’ll always enjoy coming back to it. Even if George Clooney isn’t as hot as he is now.