Dan's Review: Laughs aplenty in "Logan Lucky"
Aug 17, 2017 11:59PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf
Adam Driver and Channing Tatum in Logan Lucky - © 2017 Bleecker Street.
Logan Lucky (Bleecker Street)
Rated PG-13 for language and some crude comments.
Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Hilary Swank, Daniel Craig, Jesco White, David Denman, Jim O'Heir, Macon Blair, Farrah Mackenzie.
Written by Rebecca Blunt.
Directed by Steven Soderberg.
Steven Soderberg is an enigma. He got his start with experimental avant-garde fare, transitioned into mainstream drama, dabbled with television, found major success with the crime caper comedy Oceans trilogy, went back to the experimental stuff and the high-end drama, and then went on a 5-year hiatus. His broad range of films make Soderberg tough to pin down with respect to any signature style; eclectic to the extreme. His grand return to the big screen comes to theaters this weekend with Logan Lucky, another comedy crime caper movie styled after his Oceans trilogy.
Channing Tatum stars as Jimmy Logan, a divorced father who has a tough time staying employed on account of a bum knee. His quirky brother Clyde (Adam Driver) is an Iraq war Vet and amputee (minus his hand and lower arm) who tends bar at a West Virginia watering hole called the “Duck Tape” Bar & Grill. When Jimmy’s ex-wife Bobbi Jo (Katie Holmes) threatens to move their daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie) out of state, Jimmy hatches a plan to get enough money to hire an attorney and fight her in court. The plan is to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway during a NASCAR race by breaking into a vault where the track’s cash is deposited. In order to get inside the vault, Jimmy & Clyde enlist explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), a criminal already doing time. The plan includes getting Clyde thrown in jail, so that they can break Joe out of jail during the heist, and return both of them back to prison before anyone notices they’re missing. Also included in the scheme are Joe’s brothers Sam and Fish Bang (Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid), along with Jimmy & Clyde’s hairdresser sister Mellie (Riley Keough). Meanwhile, Jimmy finds a potential love interest in and old high school acquaintance (Katherine Waterston). The caper goes off almost as planned, with a strange twist that makes the story seem pointless at first, while reserving a big payoff for the main characters…and the audience.
All artistic accolades aside, Logan Lucky proves Soderberg has still got a knack for comedy, especially ones involving talented ensemble casts playing eccentric characters. It’s one of the funniest films of the year, and conspicuously endearing on several levels. Even though most of the characters are redneck hicks, it doesn’t feel like Soderberg is mocking them in any way. The Logans and their crew are allowed to show off all kinds of clever abilities and abstract thought, albeit with a thick Appalachian drawl. Even though Daniel Craig pretty much steals most scenes in Logan Lucky, Tatum and Driver are the heart and soul of a very good film.
Some of the best scenes involve somewhat superfluous characters, played by a variety of actors including Seth McFarlane as sleazy British energy drink company executive, Sebastian Stan as a health-conscious NASCAR driver, Dwight Yoakam as a prison warden in denial and Hilary Swank as a dogged FBI agent trying to get to the bottom of the heist.
For some directors, mixing so many quirky characters into a complex caper movie might be a challenge, but Soderberg is a true master in his element with Logan Lucky. It’s a fun ride, rich with great performances, superb style and plenty of laughs. If comedy is hard, Soderberg makes it look effortless.
Addenda: Be sure to watch for a scene involving a prison riot and a discussion on Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. It’s one of the funniest moments I’ve witnessed on screen in a while.
Logan Lucky Trailer