Ocean's Thirteen is—to use a highly technical term—cool. The suits are sleek, the dialogue snappy, the tone wry, the jazz hip. Even Las Vegas—bastion of neon kitsch that it is—looks opulently graceful. The Ocean movies (2001's Ocean's Eleven and 2004's Ocean's Twelve) have never been hard to look at, but director Steven Soderbergh's third run at the heist formula seems to be a case of practice making perfect. Every color-saturated frame of Ocean's Thirteen entertains as intended. The waters in this ocean aren't deep, but they sure do sparkle on the surface.
The film presumes familiarity with its gang of suave thieves and opens with the heart attack of beloved senior member Reuben (Elliot Gould). A worried Danny (George Clooney), Rusty (Brad Pitt), and the rest of the boys (the same stellar ensemble featured in the earlier films) hold vigil at Reuben's bedside, not only to root for his recovery but also to plot vengeance for his undoing. Reuben's failing health is attributed directly to the unsavory dealings of Willie Bank (a wonderfully over-the-top Al Pacino), a ruthless casino owner who betrayed him and cut him out of a hotel partnership, leaving him in emotional and financial ruin.
When Danny confronts Bank and gives him a chance to mend his ways, Bank refuses with such callousness and arrogance that the audience is more than ready to spend the next two hours cheering for his comeuppance. The gang decides to take Bank down by sabotaging his Vegas hotel in a number of clever and amusing ways. At the center of their plan is a scheme to rig the casino on opening night so that the house loses a targeted five hundred million dollars (the loss needed for Bank to lose control of the hotel). There is also ...1