It’s three years since Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and 10 others emptied the vault of a Las Vegas casino boss, Terry Benedict (Adam Garcia). Despite laying low and trying to go straight, Benedict has tracked them all down, and he wants his money back; $160 million, plus interest. Danny again gathers his team and heads for Europe, where they are not so ‘hot’ within the crime scene. They need to find good, big heists to cover the money they’ve all spent from the casino heist. Things go badly with a gig in Amsterdam, when the infamous, secretive loner, Francois ‘The Night Fox’ Toulour (Vincenty Cassell), shows off by outdoing Ocean’s team. And he continues to torment them, while the cops, led by Detective Isabel Lahiri (Catherine Zeta-Jones) – one time girlfriend of team member Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt), are on their tail. When things continue to go badly wrong, an emergency plan has to be quickly hatched, and it involves flying Danny’s Julia Roberts look-alike wife, Tess (Julia Roberts) from America to Italy to be the 12th member involved in the team’s biggest ever heist attempt – in a big note race with Toulour.
Review by Louise Keller:
A super slick, super smart heist sequel, Ocean’s Twelve is a fast-paced tale of ego and revenge concocted as a labyrinth of time jumps, double crosses, twists and surprises. Director Steven Soderbergh and the filmmakers have cleverly decided to build on the original characters, rather than reuse gags or situations that proved popular the first time around. It’s this originality that makes every aspect of the film fresh and so enjoyable. With humour integral to the plot, there is a sizzling sting attached to each of the central characters.
Of course, the sheer star power that illuminates the screen is dazzling in itself, but even the most illustrious star power relies on a good script to see it shine. And that’s where it starts, with George Nolfi’s script, that toys with us, like a cat playing with a lizard. Like the characters, we are set up with great panache, and agile minds are required to keep up with the pace. The inventive and intriguing structure coupled with its mostly jazzy score starts the hands of the clock ticking with great veracity, relentlessly building tension until every trick has been pulled out of the hat.
Innumerable opportunities come from setting Ocean’s Twelve in alluring European locations (Amsterdam, Monte Carlo, Rome, Lake Como), which work not only visually, but give the entire story a sense of depth and proportion. We also meet three charismatic new characters whose unique personas and presence up the ante. There’s Catherine Zeta Jones’s shapely, thief-obsessed detective as Brad Pitt’s love interest, Vincent Cassel’s extraordinarily fit master thief who relies on being the best in his field (great casting), and an uncredited Albert Finney as Gasper Le Marc, thief of all thiefs.
As we re-meet Danny Ocean and his team, now scattered in different locations, some time has passed and they have each grown somewhat accustomed to the lifestyle of their choice since the Bellagio heist. But money has not been a magic wand to their happiness, and when it is clear that Bellagio owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) is intent on revenge (he wants not only his money back, but an obscene amount of interest as well), there is no alternative but to plan a new heist, and as George Clooney’s Ocean admits to Brad Pitt’s Rusty Ryan, he has never been happier than being on the job.
All the cast is superb, and there’s a riot of a plot point concerning Julia Roberts’ character Tess and Bruce Willis (as himself) which is such inspired lunacy, that it is delicious to even contemplate. There is another inconceivable plot twist concerning Matt Damon’s Linus, who wants ‘a bigger role this time’ that will have you shaking your head at the simple ingenuity of it. It’s these clever character-driven moments that come from inventive concepts that add a compellingly sophisticated layer to the script.
Ocean’s Twelve delivers on every count – it all stacks up and hits the jackpot.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It’s hip, cool, exciting, droll, and every bit as good as Ocean’s Eleven; overflowing with ideas and oozing with the spirit of classic movies about likeable rogues, the film never takes the audience for a fool, keeping up a determined pace amidst the jokey banter. There are plenty of smarts to keep us entertained, and enough tension to keep us engaged. It’s the sort of film you leave wanting to have been a part of it.
Cast returns from Ocean’s Eleven without missing a beat, and perhaps upping it a fraction, as things don’t go according to plan. This was a great inspiration, to shift the expectations of the audience in the sequel. With the first major mishap, the sense of real danger is introduced, highlighted by a countdown to Benedict’s two week deadline to get his money back. Dead being the operative part of that phrase. (Notwithstanding that insurance has repaid him already.) The script’s internal logic is maintained throughout, if you don’t count the enormous amount of gadgetry that the team acquires and puts in place for their work. I thought we could hire these guys to retrieve the $52 million the NSW Government has ripped off motorists in speed camera fines.
The script takes twists and turns but is always clearly accessible, and the dialogue is excellent – superbly delivered by this well oiled machine of a cast, revelling in the gig. They should, too, with a personal wardrobe for each that is meticulously designed – with flair - down to the last button. (Check out Brad Pitt’s fawn overcoat for designer button styling.) Some of the lines and situations are left to be completed by the audience, which always works to involve us, and the escapist nature of the caper allows the filmmakers to flit about some of Europe’s most gorgeous spots, from the terrace of the Australian Embassy in Paris to a villa on Lake Como and the unmistakable square outside the casino of Monte Carlo. Oh, and a couple of yacht scenes on the Mediterranean…
The score, by David Holmes, is ideal for the tone of the film, rounded out by a good and varied selection of songs. But above all, hats off to writer George Nolfi and director Steven Soderbergh for making a grown up heist movie that pays gentle tribute to the old masters, but also shows that it has some ideas of its own.
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OCEAN'S TWELVE (M)
CAST: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Vincent Cassel, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison, Bernie Mac and Carl Reiner and Julia Roberts
PRODUCER: Jerry Weintraub
DIRECTOR: Steven Soderbergh
SCRIPT: George Nolfi
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Soderbergh
EDITOR: Stephen Mirrione
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Philip Messina
RUNNING TIME: 125 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 9, 2004