Art and Girls

Most sequels risk a great deal (namely their creators’ artistic credibility) only to get somewhere second. Many of these movies are forgotten because they quickly enter oblivion, and for Soderbergh and Clooney and all the rest, that is precisely what they are facing with Ocean’s Twelve. The Night Fox was the one who tipped off Benedict about Ocean’s Eleven, and then pressured him to pursue their debt under specific circumstances that require the gang to commit more heists. So if Benedict represents a studio executive, then The Night Fox represents the audience — whose love of the first movie whispers in the executive’s ear and inspires him to greenlight a sequel.

The Night Fox despises Ocean and his brilliance, while audiences presumably love it — but otherwise the metaphor works pretty neatly. The Night Fox wants to test his mettle against Ocean, and so do audiences; viewers love to watch heist movies like “Ocean’s Eleven” to see if they can figure out all the little tricks the movie is going to play before they happen. Invariably, the audience believes they understand the game; invariably the movie outsmarts them in the end.

Here that happens to our audience stand-in in a very literal way. In the climax, the Night Fox confronts Ocean and Tess at his Italian villa, believing he has won their wager by stealing an unstealable Fabergé egg in a bravura sequence where he breakdances through a field of security lasers. But Ocean gets the last laugh again; a series of flashbacks reveals how he and his team stole the egg before the Night Fox ever got near it. The Night Fox’s mentor, another master thief named LeMarc (Albert Finney), tipped off Ocean before his trap could be set. “Remember, from the time you see [The Night Fox] at his villa and the challenge begins,” he tells Ocean in the flashback, “you must assume he will have you under surveillance everywhere you go. You’ll have to put on a very elaborate show.”

So Ocean’s Eleven have been forced to make a “sequel” against their will, which must be bigger than their last heist, which was already the biggest heist ever. Somehow, they’ve got to make this sequel specifically for an audience that knows them and all their old tricks — and will be scrutinizing every move they make. Most of Ocean’s Twelve, then — the scheming, the planning, the bickering, the forced enthusiasm, the seeming disinterest — is not actually the heist at all, which occurs off-camera midway through the film. The rest is all the “very elaborate show” done for the benefit of The Night Fox and his surveillance cameras — or for the audience watching in the theater or at home. Who, in the end, are just as fooled as he is.

This meta on Ocean’s Twelve is BLOWING MY MIND. (via thedoctr)

(via howtocatchamonster)

(via howtocatchamonster)


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