Big spoilers for Ocean’s 8 lie ahead
The Ocean’s movies are great, twisty, escapist romps which rely heavily on their slowly revealed plot. Ocean’s 8 no less so, which pulls the rug out from under us on several occasions before the movie’s climax.
The con in this case is particularly audacious – to rob a celebrated antique diamond necklace right off the neck of a massive movie star (played by Anne Hathaway) during the most glamorous event of the year, the Met Ball – an event which is jammed with security guards where CCTV cameras are placed everywhere and the world’s press are watching avidly. Bold, to say the least.
But then Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has been planning this for 5 long years and she’s assembled the best possible team to help with the job.
This is the Ocean’s 8 heist explained (as best I can).
Note: everyone is referred to by first name not because they’re women but because some of them don’t have surnames listed.
First get the diamond necklace out of the museum vault where it’s currently stored and on to the neck of megastar Daphne Kluger. This they manage to do by identifying designer Rose Weil as being down on her luck and possibly approaching bankruptcy then convincing Daphne that Rose is the one who should design her dress, basically by making it look like Weil is going to be designing a dress for a younger, hotter actor. Rose then insists that Daphne must wear this diamond, and manages to convince Cartier to release it.
Then the gang needs to make an exact replica of the necklace. They do this by secretly scanning it (using cunning glasses), then 3D printing a new version in zirconia.
Next the gang need to get access to the ball. Debbie and her partner Lou (Cate Blanchett) recruit Debbie’s old friend Tammy, now a busy organized mom (who’s also a fence). Tammy knobbles one of the Met Ball organization contractors and then applies for and gains the vacant position. From the inside she convinces the organisers to hire Lou, saying she’s a nutritionist, as well as pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina) and jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling) – more on them later – as kitchen staff.
Rose is invited to the ball anyway as Daphne’s designer, Tammy is at the ball as coordinating staff, hacker 9-Ball (Rihanna) is off site monitoring the team on the CCTV that she’s hacked so Tammy just adds Debbie to the guest list under a fake name making her German and possibly a model. The CCTV has been hacked of course to create a blind spot by the entrance to the ladies toilet (how this comes about is more intricate still, but we’ll move on).
Then at the ball things get (more) complicated. Daphne’s soup is poisoned by the kitchen crew so she has to run to the bathroom to puke. Only Constance has snuck in and climbed under all the doors moments before (they all have ear-pieces obviously) and locked all of the cubicles forcing Daphne into one particular cubical. Constance then appears from within the loo to ‘comfort’ Daphne where she removes the necklace with the special tool made by 9-Ball’s sister. Daphne exits the bathroom without the necklace, Constance stealthily puts it on a bus boy’s tray in the blind spot, he takes the tray to the kitchen where Amita intercepts it. Amita locks herself in another loo with her custom tools and begins to take the necklace apart turning it into seven new pieces of new jewelry.
Meanwhile the gala is on lock down and all the guests forced to leave while security hunts for the missing necklace. Amita is working away and is about to be rumbled when Tammy pretends she has discovered the missing necklace (actually the zirconia replica which she’s hidden about her person) in a fountain. The party resumes.
Constance gets the new pieces from Amita and distributes them between the seven of them so they all now have a new piece of diamond jewellery not identifiable as the original necklace. They leave the ball undetected.
When the necklace is presented back to Cartier it is immediately identified as a fraud and an insurance investigator, John Frazier (James Corden) is called. Meanwhile the separate pieces of jewellery are sold off by a bunch of actresses using fake names not traceable to Debbie and the gang.
John identifies Debbie from the footage but she has an on camera alibi the whole time the necklace is missing. He suspects her but can’t prove anything.
Twist alert! Then Daphne turns up. She totally clocked what was going on when she saw Rose filming the necklace’s clasp system. She wants a cut, and she kind of wants some new gal pals too. She becomes the 8th member of the gang.
Next up – framing Claude Becker (Richard Armitage), Debbie’s former squeeze/rival. Daphne is dating him anyway so she heads to his house, handcuffs him to the bed and plants one of the pieces in his flat, then photographs it and sends it to Debbie who shows it to John, who’s then able to arrest Claude.
Second twist alert! We then discover that while the building was on lock down during the ball Lou and a new accomplice, acrobat The Amazing Yen (Qin Shaobo) who appeared in the previous Ocean’s films, manage to rob all the other jewels out of the exhibit using a selfie stick to mask the camera in that room, some crazy contortionist skills and a toy submarine to avoid the lasers.
Only is it?
There are a number of major problems with this plan which mean that if this really happened (and yes I know, this is escapist fantasy, it’s not real, but bear with me on this little thought experiment) most of the crew would be in jail.
First of all if a priceless antique necklace worn by the French royal family was stolen and there was that much press publicity around it there is no way the police wouldn’t be involved. $150 million surely counts as grand larceny after all.
And there’s no way they wouldn’t pore over the CCTV footage of the event, even if Claude had been fingered.
Debbie’s been planning this for five years, but here’s the major problem: Debbie. Yep, the fact that Debbie attends the gala would be the unravelling of the whole plan.
The whole of the gala (with the exception of the blind spot) is surrounded by CCTV as discussed. Debbie is on probation and is highly recognisable – indeed John recognises her from the footage. But she has an alibi, so she can’t have done the heist! Sure, but that doesn’t explain why she’s there in the first place.
This clearly suspicious activity would be the first port of call for any detective worth his or her salt. Ok Debbie has an alibi but maybe she was working with a team, like, say her brother Danny used to do. The first thing they’d investigate is how she got in in the first place.
The answer is of course Tammy’s guest list – she added Debbie as a guest under a false name, and this would immediately mark Tammy as a person of interest. Surely the obvious next step would be to look into Tammy’s background – she’s certainly not who she says she is. Once it’s clear she’s in league with Debbie they’d want to know who else Tammy added to the list or brought on board as staff. This would include Lou, Amita, and Constance.
Constance would likely be the next in the frame. Even though the ladies loo has a blind spot the approach doesn’t. Checking the approach to the women’s bathroom up to about, say, 45 mins before the necklace goes missing you’d witness Constance walking into the blind spot and then not emerging again until after the robbery has taken place. It’s clearly her who did it.
Similarly if they were suspicious already of Lou and Amita all they’d need to do is check the footage of staff leaving during the lock down – they’d discover that neither Amita or Lou actually leaves with everyone else.
Then there’s the added bonus heist – the museum exhibits. Even if we buy that there’s only one camera in the whole of the exhibition room and Lou and Yen manage to fool it with a selfie stick, that doesn’t change the fact that Debbie, pretending to be a German model, would be seen outside the exhibition room arguing with security while the heist is taking place. As soon as it was discovered that the entire room full of jewels were fakes Debbie and the others would be the first in the frame.
Not to mention the fact that police would know that Claude was responsible for sending Debbie to prison so she’d have the clearest motive for framing him.
On which – Debbie shows John the photo which justifies him searching Claude’s flat – were the police involved wouldn’t they then ask where that photo came from? In this technically advanced era it’s surely possible to trace something like that. This would of course lead to Daphne, who’d actually be a prime suspect for collusion anyway since it was stolen from around her neck (a situation which she was notably unbothered about).
All circumstantial, you say? No proof? Well actually there is. Camera footage would show Debbie, Lou, Amita, Constance, Tammy and Rose all leaving the gala wearing jewellery they didn’t arrive with and in fact it would also show Amita, Constance, Lou and 9-Ball (who wasn’t even there before) in completely different outfits, none of who were guests invited to the gala (also, where did they get changed? Who did their hair and make up so quick?). Since they are all persons of interest and since John has established that the necklace has been broken up to make separate pieces of jewellery it would be common sense to check this, and hey presto! they’d all be in the slammer.
Escapism yep, but crime never pays, guys!
Ocean’s 8 is in theaters now.