LOGAN LUCKY

Steven Soderbergh is one of most fascinating and eclectic filmmakers out there. Coming onto the scene in 1988 with his debut indie hit film Sex, Lies, and Videotapes, Soderbergh has since moved onto giving us films in all sorts of different genres and styles, from zany comedies like the Ocean’s series, to epic biographical dramas such as Che, to sprawling crime dramas like Traffic, and all the way down to character studies about male strippers in Magic Mike. He’s certainly unlike any filmmaker out there, but when you have such a varied body of work, you’re bound to have a wide barometer of quality.

In Logan Lucky, Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) lives as a blue collar laborer in Virginia, along with his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and sister Mellie (Riley Keough). Believing that their family is cursed, Jimmy is fired from his job at the mine and suddenly in need of cash. He gets the bright idea of robbing the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600, the biggest NASCAR event of the year. Intent on pulling off the scheme, the brothers recruit convicted safecracker Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and his dimwitted brothers to put the plan into action. 

One of the things Steven Soderbergh succeeds at as a director is that he handles ensemble films very well. Nearly every character, from the leads to ones with a single line of dialogue, feel fully developed and realized. You of course have to hand it to the actors, who are all perfectly cast and embody their roles to the fullest. Everybody is used appropriately to their strengths (well, maybe except Seth McFarlane as a British NASCAR driver) and have very natural chemistry with each other. The entire cast gets to flex their comedic shops, providing for some hysterical moments. The Logan family and Bang brothers all feel like they have a real connection with each other. They’re just like real relatives who love each other and have each other’s back, but still bicker and argue all the time. The world around them feels incredibly real and lived in, perfectly representing all of the glitz and glamor of the south, to where some character looked like they were plucked right off the street. If there’s one thing the film feels, it’s alive and full of personality. 

Like some personalities, it can unfortunately be pretty dull, and it’s mostly due to the script. It lacks focus, which is ironic, considering how meticulously planned out the brother’s whole scheme is. It’s a little too well planned out, though. Where the robbery in Ocean’s 11 had a little bit of plausibility to it, and was more fun, a lot of it in Logan Lucky came off as incredibly convenient, contrived, and based off pure chance and luck. Because I couldn’t fully suspend my disbelief, I just didn’t really care and was completely bored by the end. There was just no energy and it just dragged and dragged. Every time I thought it would pick up, it just slows down again. The stakes were too low, and I never really felt like our characters were ever in any real danger. The third act is especially frustrating, as it introduces extra characters and plot threads that weren’t needed. They weren’t even fully resolved, so I wondered what the point even was. The choppy editing throughout, which Soderbergh normally excels at, doesn’t help matters much, just making things much more confusing and uninteresting. 

I don’t know really know what to get out of Logan Lucky, other than a comedic heist film with a Southern twist. The Southern angle is fun and accurately captured, the performances are fantastic all around with some great characters, it’s quite funny at times, but it doesn’t mean much when I’m completely disengaged from the events on screen. For me, a comedic heist movie should have a little bit of fun to it and there wasn’t much to be found here for me. 

5/10

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