Film review: LOGAN LUCKY, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’
In 2016, director Steven Soderbergh announced he was taking a break from filmmaking to concentrate on other projects. Thankfully, this intriguing, idiosyncratic auteur has returned to the big screen for the subdued but quirkily charming hillbilly heist comedy/ drama Logan Lucky.
Set in an economically depressed part of West Virginia the film sees recently sacked construction worker and former high school football hero Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) hatch a plan to rob that most American of cultural events…Nascar. Enlisting his Iraq War vet brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and a trio of lame-brained criminal brothers led by explosives expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), they concoct an elaborate subterranean robbery plan that has just a touch of Ocean’s 11 about it.
This is a lightweight and at times slow-moving film that occasionally seems to amble along without direction. Often, as we discover later, this is simply Soderbergh’s sleight of hand as important details are subtly revealed during these seemingly non-descript scenes.
While the caper itself is moderately interesting, the film’s appeal lies with its oddball, almost Napoleon Dynamite-esque characters. With his southern fried American accent, badass tatts and shock of peroxide blonde hair, Daniel Craig is in another universe from his suave and smug James Bond. Craig plays Joe as a man of dubious character but never a dislikeable or especially threatening one. Adam Driver, depicts war vet amputee Clyde Logan in much the same way as he portrayed his much-celebrated character Paterson in the Jim Jarmusch film of the same name: droll, introverted and slightly mysterious. As the straight man, Tatum isn’t quite as memorable or amusing as his co-stars but makes Jimmy a sympathetic, even touching character. One of the standout performances comes from Riley Keogh who recently did fine work in post-apocalyptic thriller It Comes at Night. Here, she plays the Daisy Duke-like Mellie Logan who delights us each time she proves to be smarter and more capable than the local rednecks who ogle at her. The only sour note among the performances comes from Seth McFarlane who is way over the top and unconvincing as an arrogant British Nascar driver with whom the Logans have a run-in.
Like Out of Sight and Get Shorty, Logan Lucky is moderately funny crime caper piece featuring a likeable rogue’s gallery and a couple of clever plot twists. It’s a very amiable slow-burn piece of filmmaking that also makes fine use of some terrific songs such as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s ‘Fortunate Son’.
Nick’s rating: ***1/2
Genre: Crime/ caper/ comedy/ drama.
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh.
Release date: 10th Aug 2017.
Running time: 119 mins.
Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM. Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show