The Ocean’s series began as an update to the famed Frank “One-Take” Sinatra vehicle of Ocean’s 11. The original Ocean’s 11 (1960), starred the Rat Pack (Sinatra, Martin, Davis, Jr, Bishop, and Lawford) along with Angie Dickinson and others, and was a film of hi-stakes theft on a grand scale. Remade in 2001 and starring George Clooney along with Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, amongst others, this story became a hit all over again. The success of this latest version prompted the gang to come back for another go-round in Ocean’s Twelve in 2004 and is now trying for a third grand heist in Ocean’s Thirteen with a slight expansion of the crew and new adversary (Al Pacino) and girl (Ellen Barkin).
All films enjoy a soundtrack, some that lifts the film, others that are too abstract, but most that merely assist the film with its mood settings and progressions. The soundtracks to this series would be slinky, sneaky, and jazzy/sexy as this version is, easy enough. There are a few surprises as well. The music is scored by David Holmes, who has composed the previous two Ocean’s soundtracks as well as films that include Buffalo Soldiers, Code 46, Stander, amongst others. In his earlier work, he DJ’d and produced a string of successful mix albums.
It is Holmes who, all by himself, captures the essence of intrigue with his hip, Mancini-like contributions in 16 tracks. With his blend of rock and jazz to capture a 60’s film and music element, Holmes has created a ‘fun to listen to’ gem that plays off of his mix skills. The remaining 4 cuts are brilliant placements of other’s works that enhance the ambience of the film, as intended.
On Ocean’s Thirteen, Holmes adds several pieces to his compositions including a track from Snowflakes Are Dancing. Snowflakes Are Dancing (1974) is a complex synth album by Isao Tomita that features electronic reinterpretations of classical gems, largely by Debussy. On this soundtrack album is a remastered (at least I think it is remastered. It sounds better than I remember) piece from that Tomita album that is, all by itself, a great reason to buy this (for Tomita fans, that is). The song is “Suite Bergamasque, Claire de Lune, No. 3” and is quite a listen to hear even on here. Other adds include the Lee Hazlewood-penned “This Town,” as sung by original Ocean, Frank Sinatra, “Caravan,” a 1971 performance by Puccio Roelens, itself a smoky jazz work that fits in well with the film and album theme, and “Soul Town” by The Motherhood doing the same business.
The soundtrack to Ocean’s Thirteen is a great step back into the past with James Bond, Pink Panther, and late ‘60s-like films of intrigue and their defining music. I know that you’ll enjoy it.