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Steven Soderbergh is officially back in the director’s chair with Logan Lucky.
Despite the title’s suggestion, the Logan family could not be called lucky with droll bartender Clyde (Adam Driver) lost an arm in the Iraq war, while his big brother Jimmy (Channing Tatum) has been fired from his job fixing sinkholes. The family’s younger sister Mellie (Riley Keough) fares a little better as a joyriding hairdresser. The three follow Jimmy’s to-do list to stage a heist in a bid to rewrite their family history enlisting the help of local prison inmate and explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig). The movie starts with Jimmy just getting unfairly fired from his construction job at the Nascar track. Set upon payback, Jimmy plans to rob his former employer, and that job needs a ragtag crew including Clyde, Mellie and Joe.
It’s bizarre to see Craig with a bleached buzz cut, but he’s one of the very best things in Logan Lucky movie with his scene of flirting with a nurse in a slightly off southern drawl or fashioning a gummy bear bomb. Though, the prison break and heist scenes are slickly and efficiently staged, and the movie’s great strength is its good nature. Soderbergh sets his crime caper in West and features a beauty pageant, a saloon bar and a cameo from country-pop star LeAnn Rimes. However, not all the movie’s jokes are about the south. There’s a warm wackiness to the humor and a gag about the Game of Thrones books.
The director gets his career and his groove back terminating a retirement none of us believed in anyway. His returns with Logan Lucky is awesome. The movie is a terrifically stylish and laid-back heist comedy about robbing a Nascar racetrack in West Virginia with John Denver’s Take Me Home and Country Roads serving as its anthem. The story is written by mysterious first-timer Rebecca Blunt, who has yet to show up for interviews or media appearances.
The movie is quite similar to great caper Ocean’s Eleven from 2001 and the classic Two-Way Stretch. It’s funny, beguiling and smart, although, the movie maybe doesn’t deliver the sugar rush of excitement achieved by Danny Ocean and his crew. Sometimes, the tempo is a little like an unhurried, evenly paced country number when some bluegrass is in order. Still, it’s very droll, acted with deadpan aplomb, and there is such casual brilliance to Soderbergh’s visual compositions.