Ocean 11 is a 2001 American chef-d’oeuvre film that borrows heavily from its 1960 version. George Clooney acts as the protagonist of the movie, Danny Ocean. He is a serial criminal, and he violates his parole barely a day after his release and heads to Los Angeles, where he hatches a robbery plan in conjunction with his godfather in crime, Rusty Ryan. Danny Ocean is both a master at what he does, but he is also eccentric. This paper explores Danny’s character through how he looks, what he says, and what he does to prove that he is both an expert in his field and eccentric.
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The film’s producer Jerry Weintraub once noted, “The reason George Clooney is perfect as Danny Ocean is that George is a born leader…He’s a wonderful actor, and he helped keep the sense of fun during filming ‘ even after we wrapped for the day”(TNT par.2). This observation fits well in the description of Danny Ocean. He comes out as a natural leader in what he does, which blends perfectly with his role in the movie as the protagonist, for he is supposed to determine what happens in the movie. After breaking his parole, he heads to Las Vegas via Los Angeles, where he comes up with a plan to rob three casinos. A leader does exactly that, as he takes charge, hatches plans, and implements them.
The movie depends entirely on what Danny does and how he does it. After getting to Las Vegas, as a leader, Danny acknowledges teamwork, and so he decides to come up with a team to execute his plans. He also appreciates the role of specialization, and so he picks eight team members, all talented and experienced in different areas. He picks a pickpocket, a casino worker, mechanics, surveillance expert, explosives professional, a con man, and an acrobat. A leader sees the end from the beginning (Covey, Merrill, and Jones 75,) and Danny does that by envisioning all the needed executions and putting together a team to accomplish the same.
In addition, Danny speaks as a leader. After putting his team together, he addresses them professionally by laying down the facts of the mission ahead of them. He notes that the mission is risky, but rewarding, after which he gives everyone an opportunity to leave is he does not think that the risk is worth taking. He posits, “What I’m about to propose to you is both highly lucrative and highly dangerous…and safe journey, no hard feelings. Otherwise, come with me” (Ocean 11). A leader does not sugarcoat information in a bid to lure team members into undertaking a given mission. A true leader lays down all the facts and lets individual team members decide on whether to take part or not, and Danny knows that extremely well.
A leader takes charge and leads by example. On the day of executing the robbery, Danny makes a sacrifice by exposing himself to Benedict at the casino. Danny knows that he is on parole, and his exposure will lead to automatic apprehension. However, he knows that someone has to pay the price, and he does not delegate that duty to anyone else. Moreover, a leader is proactive, and he knows how to use misgivings as opportunities. After being arrested, Danny does not resort to self-pity, but he sees it as part of the plan. He uses his friendship with Bruiser to negotiate his way out to meet his team. In addition, a leader keeps his word, and Danny does that after promising Bruiser that he would be back to the holding. After meeting his team at the vault, he comes back, and in the closing stages of the movie, Benedict returns to the holding room where he finds Danny intact.
However, despite his commendable leadership skills, Danny portrays some level of eccentricity in what he does. A leader should focus on his mission solely, but when Danny realizes that Benedict has stolen his ex-wife, he expands his mission to include revenge. He admits, “I lost someone…That’s why I’m here…The problem is, now we’re stealing two things” (Ocean 11). At this point, Danny becomes unpredictable and thus eccentric. He is prepared to risk the initial mission of robbing the casino and get his revenge and wife back. After Rusty confronts him on what he could choose between the mission and getting his wife back, he retorts, “Remember, Tess does not split ways” (Ocean 11).
In other words, he implies that getting his wife back comes first and if he has to expose the mission in his quest to achieve his newly found agenda, then so be it. This side of Danny contradicts his initial character of a natural leader who knows what to do and when and how to do it. Luckily, the plan goes undisrupted, and Danny achieves the two missions by getting his wife back and having the money from the casino.
In conclusion, in the movie, Ocean 11, Danny Ocean, the protagonist, comes out as a natural leader. This aspect makes him an expert at what he does. In the movie, he is needed to be a leader, and he scores highly on this requirement. He envisions, plans, and executes his plan to rob Bellagio. However, after realizing his ex-wife is now married to Benedict, he changes his priorities and decides to have Tess back, which paints him as an eccentric person.
Covey, Steve, Roger Merrill, and DeWitt Jones. The Nature of Leadership, West Valley City: Franklin Covey, 1998. Print.
Ocean 11. Dir. Steven Soderbergh. Burbank, CA: Warner Bros. 2001. Film.
TNT: Ocean’s Eleven. n.d. Web.