ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  stephen sommers

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  heist

LENGTH  -  120 minutes

RELEASED  -  10 december 2004

DISTRIBUTOR  -  warner bros.

OFFICIAL SITE  -  ocean's twelve

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $110,000,000
ocean's twelve - a shot from the film


buy the dvd from ocean's twelve at

buy the dvd from ocean's twelve at

daniel ocean recruits one more team member so he can pull off three major european heists in this sequel to ocean's eleven.


poster from ocean's twelve
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when filming scenes in sicily security was tightened because several members of the sicilian mafia were seen roaming near the shooting locations.


picture from ocean's twelve

picture from ocean's twelve

picture from ocean's twelve


three out of four possible stars

Romping across the screen with obvious delight, the cast of Ocean's Twelve seems to enjoy their time on screen in this sometimes bloated follow-up to its predecessor, Ocean's Eleven. But rather than present a style of film that mirrored the first film, director Stephen Soderbergh has thrown his actors on a tilt-a-whirl of a story, the complexity of which sometimes interferes with a viewer's ability to just sit back and enjoy the film. Since the film wasn't created with some sort of social conscious in mind (such as 2000's Traffic or 2001's Solaris, both Soderbergh films), it's odd that an otherwise fluffy caper film should carry so complicated a plot.

And is it a mark against the talents of the large cast that they aren't really able to jump ahead of the plot and let the audience enjoy their antics? It's almost as if some of the innocent glee and mischievous fun present in the first film was stamped out in favor of focusing on the fact that the film takes place in Europe. Or the fact that it's a slightly twisted view of the world and looks much more like a Steven Soderbergh film than did Eleven. Looking at Soderbergh's other directorial antics, films like Solaris, Full Frontal, and The Limey, films with dark attitudes toward life, are more his style.

Ocean's Eleven was like some sort of happy experiment that proved Soderbergh could make a film with mass appeal that wasn't put together using the lowest common denominator. But Ocean's Twelve, though its theatrical trailers present it as just another zippy heist courtesy of Daniel Ocean and his buddies, is actually a step back into Soderbergh's safety zone of odd camera angles, dark cinematography, and whirling plot-twists. So it's probably fortunate that such a beautiful cast of actors was chosen so audiences would have something pretty to gaze upon in the midst of so many dirty European vistas and seedy but glamorous accommodations.

If you were to line cast up in a row and just stare at them, you'd probably notice that more than once of the faces had been dubbed "Sexiest Man of the Year" by various publications and that the combined monetary value of the actors would exceed and/or double the budget of even the largest budgeted film. The estimated budget of 110 million dollars makes it apparent that most, if not all, the actors took a cut in pay to perform together on the screen. Which, in light of the success of the first film, was a good move career-wise. But just because the case is beautiful, worth millions, and has a few awards under its belt doesn't mean their simple appearance in a film would create something worth watching.

If anything, Hollywood should be mindful that simply casting big names doesn't always result in cinematic splendor. But with Ocean's Eleven, the bevy of big names attached to the film was certainly no hindrance and it stands to reason that if each actor was to return to his role, an entertaining sequel could be possible. And in some instances, Ocean's Twelve does recreate a few memorable moments, one of the only things it does share with its predecessor is its cast. Yes, everyone has returned for the sequel, but it's quite a different experience.

Interestingly, though the film's length is by no means excessive (it probably wouldn't even be considered "long" if you were to chop the credits off), perhaps it is the excessive number of plot twists during the latter half of the film that will either turn viewers' attention off or draw them in via the confusion of a thick and swiftly turning story. In most instances, the cast is able to tow the line, though having to contend with the dual complexities of a giant cast and a complicated plot makes for a very crowded film.

With a cast that includes such high flying talent as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, and Matt Damon (with those names representing less than half the lead actors), fans of the actors will doubtlessly enjoy this heist and general viewers will never lack for something to look at, figure out, or wonder about. The people who might be disappointed are viewers who thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Ocean's first heist since Ocean's Twelve is in many ways a darker, more complicated film that leaves out most of the innocence and revelry of Eleven.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs warner bros. 2004
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