Runtime: 119 minutes
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, and Daniel Craig
Auteur film director Steven Soderbergh comes off his brief four retirement with a new heist film in the same vain of his popular Ocean’s saga, that has been surprisingly polarizing outside of the main film critic spheres. In one camp, Logan Lucky is nothing more than a boring film energized by eccentric performances. However in the other camp, Logan Lucky is a near-perfect creatively comedic caper that is in contention of being one of the iconic filmmaker’s best films to date. I for one happily reside in the latter group.
Logan Lucky is about a pair of down-in-their-luck brothers, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) and Clyde Logan (Adam Driver), who decide to rob the money vault of a nearby NASCAR stadium during one of its busiest racing events in an attempt to disprove a family curse. To aid in the heist, they employ the help of their car-enthusiast sister Mellie (Riley Keough), infamous safecracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), and Bang’s two moronic brothers Sam Bang (Brian Gleeson) and Fish Bang (Jack Quid). Along the way they also encounter a slew of characters played by a cast of familiar faces: Seth MacFarlane as a British energy-drink NASCAR sponsor, Sebastian Stan as a hot-shot NASCAR driver under contract with MacFarlane’s character, Katherine Waterston as Jimmy Logan’s old high-school acquaintance turned nurse, and Hilary Swank as an FBI agent on the tail of the Logan family and company, just to name a few.
What I love about Logan Lucky is exactly what its main detractors find so off-putting: it’s lack of external motivation. Jimmy Logan comes up with the intricate plan of robbing the NASCAR stadium not to get back at any antagonistic figure or make any political statement. He does it because he can, and he presumably wants be able to visit his daughter more frequently. The point is though, that the money to earned from the job is not essential to any character. Jimmy’s brother Clyde, agrees to help solely because Jimmy made breakfast that morning and because he admired his “attempt at being organized.” The character’s respective motivations for the heist are hilariously arbitrary, which in turn makes this heist film especially creative than the rest.
In the past, I’ve had a bittersweet relationship with director Steven Soderbergh’s films. His unique, but odd filmmaking style a lot of times feel distant and inaccessible. His films like The Informant!, The Girlfriend Experience, Haywire, and Magic Mike are especially guilty of this. However every now again that peculiar style complements the narrative, as was the case with films like Contagion and Side Effects, two films that epitomize what I love about the art form. In that respect, Logan Lucky embodies all of the positives of the latter and more. Lucky Logan embodies Soderbergh’s typical style but at the same time transcends it with the help of the delectably Coen-esque script. I can’t recall another one of Soderbergh’s films that I’ve seen that flow as compellingly or as organically as this one.
If you aren’t turned off by the rustic aesthetic of the film’s setting or the lack of any grand spectacle, you can’t find a better movie than Logan Lucky. And if you are, there’s no doubt that you’ll find the film at least mildly entertaining.