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"Ocean's Thirteen," Coolness and Cleverness

By admin Published: June 5, 2007

Spent the evening at a screening of "Ocean's Thirteen." Cool ..

Of course, all the movies in the Clooney-Pitt-et-al "Ocean's" era have been cool, because the main guys are so comfortable in their fashionable clothes and faux-hipster lingo. There are a couple of references in "Thirteen" to guys who have shaken Sinatra's hand, and a wistful reminiscence about the old Vegas, and it all adds up to guys who don't merely dream of Sinatra, but who are his ring-a-ding heirs.

But here's where "Thirteen" has the edge over "Twelve." It reaffirms that, in these movies, cool is more important than clever. "Twelve" thought that the way to top "Eleven" was to build a clever puzzle of a plot, with twists inside of twists and turns within the twists, and the result was a lot of narrative confusion. It may have made sense in the end -- at least, I think it made sense in the end -- but getting there wasn't nearly as fun as in "Eleven," where the motives and basic plan were clear, and you just had a good time getting there.

"Thirteen" offers clarity. There's one basic bad guy, Al Pacino, and one basic idea, to break him for double-crossing Elliott Gould. (And don't bother counting good guys up to thirteen. It doesn't quite compute, any more than "Twelve" ultimately did.)

Now, from that foundation it spins schemes and gadgets and digressions and a surprise or three. But with fewer complications to deal with, there's more time for all the guys to be either funny or ...

Wait for it ...


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