Sunday Moment of Zen: The Clair de Lune sequence from Ocean’s Eleven

I’m very fond of the Ocean’s Eleven remake. It’s a movie crammed with excellent performances and, for something which isn’t technically a comedy, has jokes woven into every element of it. Danny and Rusty’s shorthand conversations are a particular favourite, as is the moment where ‘A Little Less Conversation’ by Elvis is used to tip the film over from getting the gang together, to doing the job. It’s an endlessly witty, wry movie that I know, for some, tips over into smugness. For me, it never does, because of one sequence. This one.

It’s a moment of absolute peace and tranquillity in a film which has been defined by constant movement and talk, a point where you can see the characters truly relax for the first time. The patter, the front, the endless deception inside deception’s gone. Now all they have to do is go home but none of them are quite ready to. Clair de Lune swells, the fountain dances and they stand and watch. They’re all desperate to hang onto their moment of near impossible victory and there’s a subtly different kind of tension as to who’ll walk away first. Of course, it’s Rusty, the man with the plan who goes first. Always something to do, always another job. Slowly, they all drift away until just Saul, the oldest hand, is left looking at a city not much older than he is. Then, he leaves too. Back to work. Or at least, back to the getaway. It’s a beautiful, simple scene and it gets me every single time. It’s also your Sunday moment of Zen.

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