Since retiring (not really) after the release of Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh directed all 20 episodes of the Cinemax series The Knick and now he returns to the big screen with the “Ocean’s Seven-Eleven”, Logan Lucky and it is a welcome, if seemingly inevitable return. Soderbergh is a very unique filmmaker with an incredibly eclectic sense of style, proving himself competent in various genres. It hard to believe that the man who made Solaris also made Magic Mike. His talent is obvious and while it is very unlikely to receive any recognition from the Academy, Logan Lucky provides a beautifully shot, humorous little redneck heist movie that just delightfully breezes by and knows exactly what it, no more, no less.
Lucky centres around the charming but down-on-his-luck construction worker Jimmy Logan (the ever improving Channing Tatum, a frequent Soderbergh collaborator) and his one and a half armed war veteran brother Clyde (Adam Driver) as they decide to pull off an audacious and pretty damn complicated heist at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, the very same Speedway Jimmy is doing construction under just before he gets let off but not before learning of the new system of underground pneumatic tubes that deliver all of the Speedway’s profits. It’s a clever plan but Clyde is quick to point out their family’s past misfortunes, the so-called Logan Family curse; Jimmy was set to play for the NHL until he injured his knee. Clyde was returning from Iraq when he lost half of his arm and many other unbelievably luckless scenarios. Despite this the brothers assemble a rag-tag crew to help them pull it off namely incarnated safe-cracker Joe Bang (played here by a bleach blonde, tattooed Daniel Craig, clearly having a blast as the quirky and joyously mischievous inmate) and the younger Logan sibling Mellie (Riley Keough in her second Soderbergh partnership).
There is a great supporting cast here too, Hilary Swank’s FBI agent, Sebastian Stan’s ostentatious race car driver, Katie Holmes make a rare appearance as Jimmy’s ex-wife and even Brian Griffin himself, Seth MacFarlane shows up with an incredibly amusing British accent.
While there really isn’t too much attention given to characterisation, Logan Lucky is a lesson in great storytelling and filmmaking. Acting as his own cinematographer, Soderbergh has banned any shot from being boring and the superb editing gives the film a delightful pace and energy that works great with the southern aesthetic especially during the NASCAR scenes. The heist itself is certainly a highlight and was surprisingly tense at times as the brother wing their way through their plan.
Many viewers expecting a laugh-out loud comedy caper may be disappointed but there is fun to be had. The writing and humour are definitely more subtle than the usual modern comedy but there are plenty of chuckles on offer from the vast array of eccentric characters on display.
The whole cast delivers committed performances, especially Craig but I will admit I was disappointed by Adam Driver’s lack of any distinct personality. He may be missing some arm but there isn’t really much to him other than to be someone Jimmy can trust and plan things with.
Overall though whilst not particularly memorable I had a lot of fun with Lucky and for anyone looking for a quirky redneck heist movie (think a more vibrant and earnest Ocean’s Eleven) then Logan Lucky is for you.
That’s it! Until next time…
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