Ktismatics

28 June 2007

Osama’s Thirteen?

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 2:02 pm

We went to see Ocean’s Thirteen last night and had a blast. Nobody gets killed, nobody has sex, the cursing is so infrequent you’re actually startled by it. Just plenty of good clean fun as we watch a lot of rich guys bully, hustle and scam one another.

As Danny Ocean and his crew plan their latest caper, offhand comments about “collateral damage” and “exit strategy” attuned me to something that should perhaps have been obvious: this is a war movie. In the world-within-a-world of Las Vegas, its silhouette marked by the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids, the casino bosses are the heads of state. They control real estate, infrastructure and security systems as they wage perpetual warfare against each other for control of the Strip. Through hostile takeovers, coups, and regime changes the territory is being remapped constantly. Even the territory itself takes on new contours: “I remember when this was the Sands,” Ocean notes wistfully as he overlooks a lagoon.

In a world crammed with nations that are nothing more than money-generating machines Ocean runs a rogue covert operation. Answerable to no-one, seemingly willing to cut a deal with anyone, Ocean and his (now) twelve disciples manage to outwit the swaggering heads of state, to disable the most sophisticated security systems, to rig every game in the joint, to suck every drop of juice out of the wealthiest of the wealthy. With no territory or egos to protect, with no command-and-control hierarchy to bog things down, the nearly-invisible Oceanic network can smoothly and calmly execute its ingenious schemes. They undermine the most impenetrable financial center, lifting the crown jewels right off the top of the tower. Even a third-world workers’ revolt comes to Ocean’s aid. And in the end Ocean funnels, via Oprah, an absurdly huge cut of the take to a sort of refugee camp.

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5 Comments »

  1. Yes! Very good.

    And along with that is the Robin Hood motif. Ocean is the man of and for the people. He says, “Well, I know all the people you would hire to hurt me and they all like me better than you.” So, the seedy underworld is transformed into those who are the less fortunate and repressed. They may hurt people, but they wouldn’t hurt a nice guy like Ocean, one of their own.

    Solidarity, brother.

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    Comment by Erdman — 28 June 2007 @ 2:41 pm

  2. Right: nobody likes a bully. It’s probably why the CIA has always been so inept at infiltrating foreign revolutionary movements like Castro’s and Bin Laden’s. These guys might be assholes, and rich assholes to boot, but they can stick it to the man.

    A couple years after playing the original Danny Ocean, Frank Sinatra went on to star in Robin and the Seven Hoods, again featuring his Rat Pack buddies.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 4:00 pm

  3. A few years back I tried to watch the original Ocean’s Eleven. I could not. Tears started to stream down my face as the realization of my own boredom sunk into my soul……but perhaps if I gave it another shot….

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    Comment by Erdman — 28 June 2007 @ 6:33 pm

  4. I’ve never seen it either. Sinatra’s whole Vegas persona I found revolting. But his Capitol recordings? Sublime.

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    Comment by ktismatics — 28 June 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  5. Ocean and his (now) twelve disciples manage to outwit the swaggering heads of state, to disable the most sophisticated security systems, to rig every game in the joint, to suck every drop of juice out of the wealthiest of the wealthy

    Lordy it sounds like a Christian Robin Hood!

    Like

    Comment by dejan — 29 June 2007 @ 9:05 pm


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