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OPINION: Must-see movies: ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

KentWired Illustration by Mia Marino

The 2001 crime comedy “Ocean’s Eleven,” directed by Steven Soderbergh, is a must-watch for action, crime, comedy film enthusiasts and general movie enjoyers alike.

I have begun my college-long quest to watch over 50 movies and television series that I have deemed “must-sees.” On my list are many top-rated movies, such as “The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Godfather,” “The Dark Knight” and a handful of highly-praised films that don’t start with the word “the.” My list also includes personal selections, including “Interstellar,” “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.” The movie I will be reviewing today is Steven Soderbergh’s exciting crime-thriller “Ocean’s Eleven.”

The story follows Danny Ocean and his team of ten criminals as they plan to simultaneously rob three Las Vegas casinos. The intelligence, abilities and adaptability of each thief contribute to one cohesive master plan. The fast-paced team recruitment, preparation, and multi-faceted heist execution is extremely enjoyable. The interrelated actions of the robbers to both break into the vault and manipulate Mr. Terry Benedict, the owner of the three casinos, are both clever and cunning.

Mr. Benedict’s love interest, Tess Ocean, played by Julia Roberts, is also Danny Ocean’s ex-wife. Consequently, Tess is established as a tipping point between a successful heist and lifetime sentences to federal prison because of Danny’s mixed motivations between love and money. In the end, Mr. Benedict’s greed betrays him, as he is filmed stating he would give up Tess in exchange for the stolen money. Ironically, this causes him to lose both.

Starring the likes of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy García, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, “Ocean’s Eleven” contains levels of A-tier acting talent. George Clooney portrayed Danny Ocean’s intelligence and determination well, Matt Damon nailed the young, ambitious criminal prospect Linus Caldwell and Andy García’s complex villain performance was spectacular. I greatly enjoyed the character introductions and felt that every character had a purpose for being in the story.

IMDb rated “Ocean’s Eleven” a respectable 7.7/10. This rating places the film’s appeal in proximity to “Ghostbusters” (7.8/10) and “Avatar” (7.9/10), but far below films such as “The Dark Knight” (9.0/10) and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (8.6/10). I agree with IMDb’s relative rating of “Ocean’s Eleven,” however, I would personally rate it an 8.1/10. 

As far as enjoyable action and comedy movies are concerned, “Ocean’s Eleven” is high on my list. For those intrigued by crime, comedy and action film genres, I highly recommend fitting the action-packed heist conquest into your watch list if you have two hours to spare.

Jacob Freshly is an opinion writer. Contact him at [email protected].

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