Logan Lucky – Film Review by Frank L
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Rebecca Blunt
Stars: Katherine Waterston, Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum
This is a heist movie with a motley crew coming together to carry it out in unlikely circumstances. The venue is a major Nascar racetrack in North Carolina which is just over the border from Boone County, West Virginia. This is-red neck country. The story begins with Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) being laid off in dubious circumstances. He was involved with the earth works under the racetrack which were required in order to prevent sink holes happening. His marriage is bust and so is he. His wife Bobbie Jo (Katie Holmes) has custody of their daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie). Bobbie Jo, who has done very well with her current paramour, threatens to move to a new location which will effectively prevent Jimmy having any access to Sadie. Jimmy needs a lawyer; he therefore needs money. He has a brother, Clyde Logan (Adam Driver), who is a bar tender who lost his lower left arm in Iraq. Jimmy knows that on racedays there is a hell of a lot of cash sloshing through the racetrack. He also knows that a lot of it gets conveniently “lost” so nasty officialdom will not know too much about it. He is aware how the owners of the racetrack ”loose” it. The cash under the racetrack is his target.
However Jimmy needs some explosives expertise. The person who has it is one Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) but he unfortunately is behind bars in the local penitentiary. He has to be sprung for the heist. This part of the plot is magnificently portrayed with Soderbergh showing the prisoners to be far smarter than the prison authorities. Particularly moronic is the prison governor who hilariously spouts official propaganda while everything happening around him clearly shows that the propaganda is false. Soderbergh has the audience’s sympathies firmly on the side of the villains and the authorities throughout are very much the baddies.
Visually it is a delight. The glamorous home of Bobbie Jo, the seedy quality of Clyde’s bar, the scenes of the cars hurtling around the track all provide contrasts and a great backdrop to this fast moving film. The plot takes all sorts of twists and turns which permits a variety of characters make brief but often very funny appearances. There is a frightening sickly kid’s pageant where the adults are terrifying and the kids pure saccharine but needless to say Sadie has her moment in the spotlight. It adds an unlikely diversion from the main business of the movie.
Given the helter-skelter pace of the film the last fifteen minutes are somewhat less tingling but that is a small nitpick. Soderbergh announced his retirement from film in 2013, and spent the last few years working mostly on the TV show the Knick. It was a failed retirement, but we’re glad he’s back doing what he does best. The glory of this film is the quality of the acting and the ensemble cast enjoy every minute. It’s a southern fried twist on the Ocean’s 11 films with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. It’s a film that will leave you with a smile on your face and you can ask for no more than that!