Look, I don’t think anyone every really believed Steven Soderbergh when he said he was retiring from the feature film game, but I stand for everyone when I say just how good it feels for him to officially be back. Don’t get me wrong, I heard that The Knick has been a really great series, but I prefer my auteurs on the big screen whenever possible.
Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) is a blue collar worker who begins the film by helping with construction going on related to Charlotte Motor Speedway, but is let go due to liability issues. He devises a plan with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) to use the information he gained from working there to steal money from the racetrack.
In order to do so, the Logan brothers seek the aid of a bank robber named by Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), famous for his use of explosives to open safes. Joe’s time is almost up in prison, so he only agrees to help them if they can guarantee that he’ll be back in his cell before anyone notices he’s missing.
I don’t really want to dive in to the rest of the plot. Even though I always post very obvious spoiler warnings, I’d rather you just see this film for yourself. That’s a bit of a hint as to where my thoughts are: Go see Logan Lucky. Please.
It was no accident that the marketing played up the film as something of a lower-class Ocean’s Eleven, especially considering Soderbergh directed both. Replace the casinos with a Nascar track and the big city men in suits for small town guys in camo, and you might think that you’re losing most of the charm on paper. In the hands of a lesser, director, that’s entirely possible, but Soderbergh is a master, and he really brings out the comedy in this story.
Diehard fans of Joel & Ethan Coen might not trust this, but Logan Lucky‘s comedic stylings reminded me so much of O Brother, Where Art Thou? especially when it comes to protagonists who don’t know nearly as much as they pretend to but talk quickly to avoid it. The wide cast of supporting characters full of quirks is another connection, where the sum is certainly greater than all the parts.
This is the easiest part to get ramble-y, but the entire cast is great and really understands the tone. Tatum and Driver are doing really subtle work as the two leads, and Daniel Craig steals about every scene he has while looking like he’s having the most fun he’s ever had. Can the next James Bond movie actually just be a Joe Bang film?
The supporting cast is filled with great performers as well. While they don’t all get a lot to work with, each and every one of them makes the most of their time. Riley Keough as the third Logan sibling and Katie Holmes as Jimmy’s ex-wife in particular turn in really good performances in relatively underwritten roles. The real breakthrough is Farrah Mackenzie, who plays the daughter of Channing Tatum’s character. Mackenzie and Tatum have the very first scene in the film, which is fairly quick on dialogue, and she is also the source of the key emotional moment of the entire story. It involves John Denver. I’ll say no more.
Logan Lucky is by no means a perfect film, but I believe it has the potential to be just as watchable as Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven. The comedy is great without being distracting, the characters are compelling, and the execution of the heist is genuinely exciting. I guarantee this will be one of those films that a small group of people will continue to talk about for years because not enough people will have seen it. I’ll be a part of that group.
Logan Lucky: 8/10