The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia. Directed by Stephen Soderbergh.
Running Time: 120 mins
Rated: M

Stephen Soderbergh is emerging as the director of mainstream filmmaking in Hollywood. With sex, lies and videotapes, Traffic and Erin Brocovich to his credit, he now turns to the gangster genre.

Danny Ocean (Clooney) is released from jail and gathers 11 disciples to join him in a heist on the vault of three Las Vegas casinos. These gaming venues are owned by Terry Benedict (Garcia) who is living with Tess (Roberts), Ocean's former wife.

To really enjoy this film check your critical faculties in the box office and enjoy the ride. All of Soderbergh's filmic traits are on display here: clever camera angles; stylish editing; split scenes; the fusion of varying film grades and exposures; swipe edits; a good pace to the story; cynical wit; and understated dialogue. The story is the weak link but Clooney, Roberts, Garcia, Pitt and Damon make the very best of an utterly predictable tale.

The sub-title of Ocean's Eleven is "Are you in or out?" Given the fun the director, cast and crew have making this heist fantasy, count me in!

Richard Leonard SJ