Flashback Movies: Looking Back at Ocean's Eleven (2001)

We all have questionable taste when we're in high school. It's part of being a teenager; we don't dress great, and we're still in the process of figuring out exactly who we are. It's part of growing up, but that also means that our taste changes and evolves as we get older. For this writer, it also meant that I went from watching movies solely for fun to looking at them with a critical eye. Now that I'm an adult and have been reviewing films professionally for almost eight years, I thought about what it would be like to go back and rewatch my favorite movies from when I was a teenager and see how my opinion of them has changed. That is the concept of Flashback Movies; I take one of my favorite movies from roughly ages fifteen to eighteen and rewatch them, sometimes for the first time in over a decade, and see if I view them any differently. The full series is listed at the bottom of the article but this time we're looking at a favorite of mine that I still watch on a regular basis which is Ocean's Eleven

Flashback Movies: Looking Back at Ocean's Eleven (2001)
The logo for Flashback Movies and the official poster for Ocean's Eleven. Credit: Warner Bros.

If there is something that I've gone off about in many articles it is my love of good team dynamics. There is nothing that gets me to love a movie faster than taking a bunch of different people with a bunch of different personalities and smashing them together. Ocean's Eleven might be one of the first movies that I watched and really started to understand how much I enjoy this dynamic. The 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven is one of the movies on the Flashback list where I didn't have to rewatch it for the first time in many years. I often need noise going on in the background while I'm writing and Ocean Eleven, Ocean's Thirteen, and Ocean's 8 are three movies that I have playing when I'm not rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the tenth time. They are all movies I know incredibly well and they all hold up even better. The first movie is a bit hilarious to watch now with so much work from the heist having to be hands-on and someone like Tess not having a cell phone.

There is a reason they made two more of these movies after this one; the dynamic works like gangbusters. You believe that Rusty and Danny have known each other for a long time and they have seen some things together. You see the way they bring in each new team member and how they all get along. We learn how each person fits into the job and what they are going to do to make it work. Director Steven Soderbergh really makes each scene pop and the fact that so much of this movie was shot on location in Las Vegas is kind of mindblowing. We don't get deep backstories for all the members of the team but we don't need them. The little montage at the beginning of the movie where we meet them teaches of all we need to know about their characters. Those kinds of montages, when they work, can save a ton of time and teach us about large casts of characters quickly. We can see when movies mess it up like Suicide Squad and they get awkward but in Ocean's Eleven, we know a ton about the Malloy twins from watching them race a truck and an identical-looking toy truck.

The heist is the thing that makes movies like this work and the heist is frankly pretty awesome. As is common in these movies the full scope of what was going on isn't known until the end. I can clearly remember watching this movie and not seeing the twist of the team in the S.W.A.T. uniforms coming at all. I remember thinking that Saul was actually dead for half a moment while watching this because I was so caught up in everything. It's something that even the weakest entry in this franchise, Ocean's Twelve, stuck to and the made the final reveal in Ocean's 8 that much sweeter by the time the credits rolled on that one. When the full scope of the heist really comes into view we know why each other needed to be involved, we know why they needed eleven people, a and we clearly see why this group of men was able to make things work the way they did.

There is a reason Ocean's Eleven is a movie that I can put on and let play in the background; no matter what is going on I know I can tune in at any given moment and that moment is going to be good. This is a slick and well-paced 116 minutes where there really aren't any scenes that you could cut. It means that you can enjoy this movie no matter when you decide to tune in or tune out. If it's been a while since you watched any of the Ocean's movies this one is absolutely worth a rewatch. It holds up extremely well almost twenty years later and the fact that we haven't heard about Warner Bros. doing another version with the Ocean's 8 ladies is very sad. A full-blown crossover with both teams would be epic. We got Infinity War, can the heist fans get there's?


This post is part of a multi-part series: Flashback Movies.

About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at http://www.nerddomepodcast.com

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