Ocean’s Twelve title image
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125 min.
Release Date
Ocean's Twelve

If Ocean’s Eleven (2001) represents a straight line to the heist of three Las Vegas casinos, the sequel zig-zags, detours, and dances through a randomized laser grid to arrive at its destination. Ocean’s Twelve (2004) is a breezier, laid-back affair, with less to prove and more freedom to explore, despite the life-or-death stakes. It’s proof that the Ocean’s films adopt heist genre conventions in service of hangout movies, where the predominant agenda is to explore the friendships and working relationships among the characters. Soderbergh delivers his version of twisty European entertainment from the 1960s, evidenced by his occasional throwback aesthetic devices, along with his interest in locations and movie stars more than a plot. Unfortunately, Ocean’s Eleven’s slick and subversive theme about underdogs stealing from wealthy capitalist interests and corporate mobsters is a casualty of the sequel’s loose coolness and humor. But it’s an effortless sequel whose pleasures turn in a refreshingly different direction. Rather than involve the audience in planning a singular heist, Soderbergh and his starry cast make the viewer a participant—first, in the close dynamic of the cast onscreen, and second, as a spectator grifted by the world’s greatest thief.

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