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Logan Lucky – Movie Review

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Logan Lucky – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy eOne Films

Heist films are predicated on crazy plans and the steps taken to achieve the planned robbery. Part of the joy of Logan Lucky is seeing how elaborately stupid the Logan Brothers’ plot to rob a NASCAR Speedway is. Director Steven Soderbergh and his mysterious screenwriter Rebecca Blunt craft a funny and breezy romp and fill it with actors that know precisely the correct note to play. There’s also an odd bit of affection and respect for the Southern protagonists with most of the humour coming from how wild this whole situation is. Soderbergh seems to have a real knack for telling stories about sympathetic criminal types and Logan Lucky’s gang of misfits would fit in well with Ocean’s Eleven.

The screenplay is a delicate trick and knows how to use every single character, right down to the bit roles. There is never an attempt to portray Channing Tatum’s Jimmy Logan as an elaborate Robin Hood type. He merely wants to execute a plan that seems simple, but is ridiculously convoluted in the most hilarious way. For an actor who started off as just another “pretty boy”, Tatum has grown into an accomplished thespian who knows where his strengths lie. His chemistry with Adam Driver as his Iraq War veteran brother is excellent and they are believable siblings. Daniel Craig, meanwhile, delights in an offbeat purely comedic performance. Like the Logans, his incarcerated criminal has some surprising traits that allow for further dimensions.

Soderbergh and Blunt take a good-natured approach in portraying the Southerners who populate the film. NASCAR, often a subject of ridicule, mostly serves as a location and a part of Southern culture in Logan Lucky. Most of the racing action occurs off-screen, yet its presence is always felt. The film never makes fun of their ways and characters that other films would portray as simplistic stereotypical types don’t fall into those trappings. Everyone has their own nuances that make them fully developed and interesting. In a complete reversal, Seth MacFarlane’s British billionaire is the most dim-witted and simple character in the film and the only one the script mocks at every turn.

Soderbergh mostly uses the location of West Virginia to show the culture and give an idea of how the locals might live or work. Special mention also deserves to go to Dwight Yoakam as a warden who becomes mixed up in the Logans’ scheme. It’s the small roles like his that add up to a satisfying picture and Soderbergh excels at handling these ensemble casts. There isn’t a scene that feels superfluous or added to pad the runtime and there is a leanness to the almost two hour escapade. Even the extended epilogue doesn’t feel like an unnecessary add-on and is a rather fitting closure for all of the protagonists.

Logan Lucky is merely an unpretentious good time with genuinely likeable protagonists, who just happen to commit a robbery. Steven Soderbergh taps into what he displayed with Ocean’s Eleven, replacing fancy suit wearing robbers with regular folk who are more prone to donning overalls. There’s a charm to the proceedings that almost recalls Smokey and the Bandit and it’s delightful watching the entire heist unravel. One can definitely see all of the thought put into pulling this scheme off on screen. It’s a promising first screenplay for Soderbergh’s new potential collaborator and one easily imagines Rebecca Blunt will get more scripts produced in the future.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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