Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Gary Ross
Written by Gary Ross and Olivia Milch
George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh had a successful series run with the Ocean’s films that managed to make several films with all male cast that now Hollywood decided it is time for the ladies to gang up. In this film we have Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Helena Bonham Carter, Rihanna, and Awkwafina take on a heist of jewels at the Met Gala. It is a heist with a revenge plot, and pretty straightforward story. The twist was foreshadowed and this film is easily one that could have been vastly better with better writing.
Here comes the spoilers.
The films starts off introducing us to Debbie Ocean. Danny Ocean’s younger sister as she gets out of prison. We get revealed through the film she went to prison over a deal gone bad with your ex-boyfriend. She used all the years inside to plot a heist and she gets a crew together with the help of her friend Lou played by Cate Blanchett. They assemble a team of just eight women and Debbie is adamant that the entire crew is women only. The message of female empowerment is in your face, and not to say not welcome, but the mirror speech towards the climax of the film by Debbie is a bit too much.
The heist is a Cartier diamond necklace valued at 150 million that they elaborately plan to rob during the Met Gala. The setup for several events to occur and take place so they can do so is astounding. Yet this is done on purpose as it’s revealed the mule played by Anne Hathaway as the celebrity whose featured as the host of the gala is also joining the crew in the heist as she figured out they were going to steal the necklace. Now her motivations for doing so are weak and quite frankly not realistic (a famous actress wants female friends and she chooses criminals?). This for me is where the film falls flat on its face. Instead of Anne Hathaway’s character being in on the heist leave her out. Let her see the clues something is not right and her be suspicious. This raises the stakes of being caught and let Helen Bonham Carter really play off the way she is filming. Maybe tie in a social media aspect where she is trying to do posts for social media and that itself can play for laughs with the audience. Keeping her out the crew makes the film better and can play to tension when needed.
Now the bigger heist I can see foreshadowed, and I am sure the rest of the audience saw this too. This is where I would put in a twist. Let the initial heist go wrong. Let them have mistakes that should happen and often do. They think they got away with the necklace, but to their surprise when the jeweler check it is a fake. Yet the fake they replace it with at the gala they also know is a fake, but to their surprise Cartier takes it in without issue. It gets discovered that the real necklace was stolen years ago, and they never publically revealed the fact. They do get their bigger heist done of the crown jewels on display and that can proceed as it is shown in the film.
Now Sandra’s plans to get her revenge on her ex is thrown off and has to be revisited for another film, and this leaves an unresolved issue which can be good for a sequel. She tries to track down what happened to the necklace and it’s discovered her brother Danny stole it using her same plan while she was in prison. She visits Danny’s grave where a former Ocean’s member can deliver her a letter from Danny (I would have Matt Damon do it). This would tie back in Danny into her life and how he admired his sister’s plan so well he already executed it. Another plot twist is that Danny hints in his letter at where the necklace is and it is in his grave (and he isn’t). This is the twist the film needed to ground it back to the Clooney films and anchor it down for a sequel where we can have a meetup of Danny and his sister in a brother sister heist film which would make the Ocean’s series great again in my opinion. Sibling rivalry would make a great heist film for a sequel.
Thanks for reading ‘Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.