Ocean’s 11 tells the story of eleven guys, headed up by one Danny Ocean (Frank Sinatra), who plan an elaborate heist—one that involves stealing hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars from five Las Vegas hotels (all on the same night). The film takes a lot of time to showcase the personalities and personal lives of several of the eleven men before getting to the heist itself. (In fact, the film is nearly halfway over before you discover just what the eleven are planning to steal.)
If you go into Ocean’s 11 looking for lots of action scenes and thrilling heist montages and a plot that zips along…you won’t find it here. But if you want a movie that’s full of humor, a great twist ending, and fun performances from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Peter Lawford (to name a few), well, you’re in luck. Especially when it comes to those performances. Because, I don’t know about you, but I don’t really watch Ocean’s 11 for the heist elements (though those are a riot). I watch it to see the characters play off each other. I watch it for the 60’s aesthetic. And yeah, I partly watch it for Richard Conte because he’s one of my favorites. ❤ But…mostly for the fun performances. So much humor sparks and fizzes across the screen throughout Ocean’s 11.
On a side note, I find it interesting that some contemporary critics condemned Ocean’s 11 for the amorality of its characters. (Read this for more details.) Today, morally gray characters and ‘slightly better than the Big Bad’ villainous main characters are all the rage. But even back in the 1960’s (which was a decade not exactly known for its morality), some people found the unrepentant attitudes of the eleven to be troubling.
Personally, the characters’ lack of morals doesn’t bother me so much—I don’t particularly admire any of the characters or aspire to be like them. And they do get their comeuppance in the end (no spoilers on just how it happens though).
When I watch Ocean’s 11, I’m not looking for role models. I’m looking for an entertaining movie experience. And that’s exactly what I get, every time. It’s soooo fun to see the different cast members play off each other, particularly the Rat Pack. Caesar Romero also gets a small, yet important role, and he makes the absolute most of it (as usual).
Is Ocean’s 11 for everyone? No. But if you’re a fan of slow-paced (yet interesting) films, male-centric casts, and/or the 1960’s in general, you just may love it.
Have you seen Ocean’s 11? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. A very happy birthday to Dean Martin! I wasn’t planning to post this review on his birthday (since I didn’t even know when that was), but I’m glad it worked out that way. If you’re in the mood for more Dean content, my friend Jillian wrote two excellent blog posts about him: ‘Dean Martin, a Man of Hidden Depth‘ and ‘King of Cool.’