Oh, thank god Steven Soderbergh is making movies again.
The famed filmmaker had previously stepped away from the director’s chair in 2013 after releasing Side Effects and has mostly confined himself to the realm of television since then.
Thankfully his absence didn’t last too long. Soderbergh has returned his talents to the big screen with Logan Lucky: a heist film that admittedly doesn’t stray too far from Soderbergh’s comfort zone (he directed the entire Ocean’s series after all) but is nevertheless hilariously entertaining and will most likely make the cut for my Best Movie’s of the Year list.
I don’t say that lightly either: the Summer 2017 movie season was (and still is) incredibly strong. With many great films such as Wonder Woman, War of the Planet of the Apes, Baby Driver, Dunkirk, and many others gracing our local multiplexes, this year has surprisingly surpassed the ho-hum quality of Summers past, and Logan Lucky is yet another example that showcases an excellent Summer at the movies this year.
Logan Lucky follows proud West Virginian Jimmy Logan (a humorous and down to earth Channing Tatum) who gets laid off from his job as a construction worker due to having a pre-existing medical condition (timely!) and is in desperate need for cash so that he can continue to support himself and be able to visit and continue to spend time with his young daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) who’s moving across state lines to North Carolina due to her stepfather opening a new car dealership in the Tar Heel state.
Down on his luck and with minimal options to get the money he desperately needs, Jimmy formulates a plan to steal an ungodly amount of cash from the Charlotte Speedway during a Nascar race with the aid of his one armed Iraq war veteran brother Clyde Logan (an excellent Adam Driver), imprisoned explosive expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), get away driver Mellie Logan (Riley Keough), and a whole assortment of wacky characters.
Logan Lucky is first and foremost a comedy that pokes fun at (but never makes fun of) rural America’s sentiment towards a person’s necessary independence from government, healthcare, education, technology, and occupation. This can be seen in how Jimmy’s lack of technological prowess is humorously endearing in the way that he can only operate his unserviceable cellphone to take pictures of his daughter and in how he refers to a certain popular social media app as “The Facebooks.”
Beyond the comedy, Logan Lucky contains a good message about the importance of family: Channing Tatum’s believable relationship with his family is the heart of the movie, and while this narrative emphasis is most visually seen through how much he loves his daughter, the theme of having a strong family is further reflected by Adam Driver’s hilariously reserved performance as Jimmy’s younger brother Clyde: a man who believes that Jimmy was let go from his construction job because of the infamous Logan family curse that dooms everyone with the Logan genetic code to be a bunch of fuck ups (hence the title of the movie), and Clyde desires to participate in the heist in order to change the fortunes of the entire Logan family.
Of course, the only way for the Logans to achieve that most desired dynamic familial unit is by stealing a plethora of cash, and they need all the help they can get.
Enter Daniel Craig, the MVP of Logan Lucky by virtue of portraying the incarcerated Joe Bang: a man named as such because he fucking loves explosions. Craig is the most entertaining character in the movie for dueling reasons: firstly because watching Craig act as a hardened criminal, who can make even a request to use a vending machine sound intimidating with his deep southern drawl, is endlessly funny and worth the price of admission alone, and secondly because Joe Bang as character adds a great twist in the narrative where the Logans not only have to bust him out of prison in order to utilize Bang’s talents as a demolition expert but must also return Bang back to prison before anyone notices that he’s gone.
In essence, Logan Lucky has two heists for the price of one, and when the heist is kick started into gear by a heart pounding third act, and my god it is satisfying and exhilarating to witness Jimmy’s best laid plans come to fruition and feel incredibly tense during any moment where the robbery could be derailed by the whole cast of great yet hilariously inept characters.
And that’s what it all comes back too: Logan Lucky has such great characters that the movie itself has character. The tone and style of Logan Lucky is wholly unique in it’s wacky sincerity, and by the film’s conclusion, you will feel more than satisfied with your movie going experience.
This one is definitely worth watching on the big screen.