You could argue that director Steven Soderbergh enjoyed his finest moments on the big screen with heist flicks — Ocean’s 11 and its sequels as well as Out of Sight — so it makes sense that the director ended his self-imposed retirement from films with the new heist flick, Logan Lucky.
However, this film offers a fresh take on the genre with the key players neither slick (Ocean’s 11) or slyly charming (Out of Sight). Instead, Logan Lucky centers on a down-on-their-luck family viewing their somewhat simple ruse as their only course of action. Leading this heist is Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum), a former local football star and struggling divorced father whose past war injury has led to his recent unemployment. Jimmy had been working fixing the sinkholes beneath the race track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he discovered how the venue’s money was distributed. With his ex-wife (Katie Holmes) set to move his daughter out of state, Jimmy’s in need of some fast cash to remedy a strained family situation.
For the heist, he enlists a ragtag crew made up of fellow family members and childhood friends. Adam Driver is Clyde Logan, Jimmy’s somewhat dim and family curse-obsessed younger brother who lost his arm in the same war accident as Jimmy. The appendage also serves as a comedic device at times bringing levity to the film. Jimmy sister Mellie (Riley Keough) is a streetwise hillbilly hottie playing a key role in the heist, while the rest of his crew features another family led by the incarcerated explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) and his hard-partying brothers Fish and Sam (Jack Quaid and Brian Gleeson).
Included in the plan is a prison break for Bang, with the criminal returning to his confines before anyone realizes he’s left and the expected twists implemented by Jimmy, leading to a somewhat surprising outcome even by some of those involved. Though building the characters onscreen as players who are punching above their weight class who somehow win against all odds, the heist that Jimmy has planned out is actually more involved than initially seen onscreen, but part of the fun is seeing Soderbergh revisit the key details of what actually went down.
If there is a flaw in the film and the plan, it’s the arrival of a hard-nosed investigator played by Hilary Swank late in the film. While the final act reveals all that had to happen for the plan to succeed and centers on whether they will actually get away with it, it feels as though the film didn’t know where to end and the introduction of Swank’s character leading to the final payoff was a bit rushed. Still, Logan Lucky does feature a stellar cast (with smaller roles for Seth McFarlane, Dwight Yoakam, Katherine Waterston and Sebastian Stan among others), some light humor and enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.
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Posted by: Ari Coine