Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Katherine Waterston, Farrah Mackenzie, Daniel Craig and Hilary Swank
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Rebecca Blunt
Rated: PG for coarse language, violence and smoking
Runtime: 119 minutes
Now playing at Cineplex Odeon North Edmonton and Scotiabank Theatres
What’s this? An utterly implausible yet incredibly fun heist movie directed by Steven Soderbergh? Count me in! This isn’t Ocean’s 14, though. It’s more like Ocean’s 7/11 in North Carolina, to borrow a quip from the movie itself.
Logan Lucky is a more human story, told from the viewpoint of Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum). He really could have been a contender, as they say. Once a young football up-and-comer, his luck took a 180-degree turn south (due to an injury) and never seemed to improve. We start the film off watching him get fired from his construction job, right before his ex-wife tells him that she’s moving out of state.
Backed into a desperate corner, he sees salvation in the form of a major robbery. See, he knows how the money flows underground at a major racetrack and he conjures up a scheme to divert it into his pockets. For that, he enlists the assistance of his own one-armed brother, Clyde (Adam Driver) and sister Mellie (Riley Keough), as well as explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and his two brothers, Fish and Sam (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson, respectively).
The fact that the older Bang is in jail at the time doesn’t faze Jimmy. He’s got a foolproof 10-step plan that takes all contingencies into account. He figures out a way to break him out, conduct the heist, and then break him back in so that nobody knows he’s been missing.
Like I said: implausible, but fun.
Movies like this aren’t successful because they’re based on sound logic or realism or even a kick-butt soundtrack like Baby Driver. They’re only ever about people in the audience being able to relate to the hero on screen who just needs that break to get his foothold back in his life. Jimmy Logan doesn’t seem like a bad guy, just one who’s gotten himself into one jam after another. Who hasn’t been there?
Still, getting a viewer’s sympathy for a heist mastermind such as he is a tough reach. That’s the other factor for this film’s success: you have to have an astute acting ensemble that can make each and every one of those characters full of life and gusto. Mission accomplished here too. If we are continuing the Ocean’s Eleven comparison then this is the less sophisticated, backwoods version even though there’s just as much joie de vivre in this southern cousin as there was with George Clooney in Las Vegas.
I must admit that Tatum has now established himself as a guy with a decent bit of range, enough to allow me to expect more from him in the future. Similarly with Adam Driver too, who has all but a countdown clock to assure his moment on the Oscar stage. The rest of the cast is top notch for this otherwise run of the mill dramedy from the master, Steven Soderbergh, but I’m especially impressed here with Daniel Craig, playing Joe Bang and not his usual James Bond. You could practically feel his glee at being free of those bonds, so to speak.
Overall, Logan Lucky is half wacky, half smart, a little slow and more subdued than you’d think it would be. I’d watch it again and I’d recommend it to most audiences. I’d also suggest watching it with the CaptiView closed captioning devices in order to read through some of the lines spoken in that thick Carolina drawl.