Eleven (2001) (***1/2)
review by Jon
Straight out of prison, Danny Ocean has a plan. He’s
looking to pull off one of the most complicated heists ever
attempted. Cash from three casinos are kept in one single vault.
The only problem is that it’s the most impenetrable vault
ever created. Danny’s going to need a little help. So,
he calls on his fellow robber friends and assembles a crack
team full of professional, shysters, heisters, and cheats.
The take is huge, but so is the risk. Are you in or are you
I’d have to say that I’m in. Director Steven Soderbergh
and writer Ted Griffin collaborate to bring the original movie
starring Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack back and
update it for the forty-year gap. Boy, was it updated. This
time, the job requires much more intelligence, foresight and
myriad skill sets to pull off. You also get a love story tacked
on in a certain roundabout way. It’s not central, nor
is it distracting, but it’s much more evident and carries
more weight than in the old one.
The characters interact better here, as well. One key difference
is that professional actors are used in every role, rather
than a bunch of friends. Also, each character actually has
something worthwhile to do – a defined roll, so it becomes
the ensemble effort it should be. Although there may not have
been an established group prior to filming, you can still sense
a nice cohesion amongst them. They play off of each other brilliantly
and keep the great jovial attitude with them as the actually
act their parts.
The movie isn’t perfect. The opening once again takes
too long to introduce everyone, even though each introduction
has a purpose. The film itself, running at almost two hours,
could have been shortened. A couple of the side quests ultimately
add nothing significant (like getting the “pinch” to
blow the electrical system). There are also several plot holes
and unexplained factors that could distract you or leave you
wondering. The ending doesn’t sit as well with me as
the original did, either.
But ultimately, this new version is
so different from the original that it hardly seems like a
remake. Even if it were
a more straight-on rehashing, just adding Steven Soderbergh’s
visual touch would make it better than the 1960
smart, funny, charming, tricky and exciting. Where as that
version was campy fun, this is actual, legitimate fun with
no guilty pleasure aftertaste.
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