Steven Soderbergh is rubbish at retiring. Thankfully, he makes up for it by being a bloody good director. His return to the big screen after a very short spell in retirement is a welcome one, and proves without a doubt that no one makes heist movies like he does. The droll, laid-back script, terrific performances from an A-list cast, and that unmistakable box of slick directorial tricks, mark out Logan Lucky as one of the most fun films of the year.
Channing Tatum stars as Jimmy Logan, a construction worker who loses his job for no good reason, and then learns that his ex wife (Katie Holmes), who has custody of his daughter, is moving hundreds of miles away. Needing a solution to his problems he reasons that a shit load of money should do the job, so he decides to rob the local NASCAR track during the biggest race day of the year.
With his brother Clyde (a terrific Adam Driver) on board, they now need to recruit an explosives expert. And that man is Joe Bang, a presently incarcerated safecracker, played brilliantly by Daniel Craig. And he is is clearly having a ball in this film. After years of playing boring bloody Bond, you forget how fantastic an actor he can be. Rounding out the crew are Joe’s brothers – a couple of redneck computer experts (“All the twitters! I know ‘em”) and Jimmy and Clyde’s own sister Mellie (Riley Keough) on driving duty. Now it’s time to get thieving.
Much like it’s limping leading man, Logan Lucky never really moves at a hurried pace. There’s no real tension or threat, or deadly antagonist to overcome. This is all about a fun group of characters, whom we quickly care about, and want to spend time with. Soderbergh and his (possible nom de plume) writer Rebecca Blunt never look down on the characters, or sneer at their lifestyles, looking to elicit cheap laughs. The film is too good hearted for that.
As with all good heist capers, the real pleasure is in the process. Seeing how the plan comes together, and trying to work out the inevitable twists and surprises. Soderbergh is a master of this genre, and it is a joy watching him pull the strings with seemingly effortless skill.
Not everything works as well however – a couple of subplots add nothing to the overall piece, and Seth MacFarlane as an obnoxious English NASCAR team owner is exactly as annoying as that sounds. But these are minor quibbles. Logan Lucky is funny and smart, endlessly entertaining, and filled with great performances. A welcome return indeed.
Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Katie Holmes, Riley Keough, Seth MacFarlane Director: Steven Soderbergh Writer: Rebecca Blunt Released By: Studiocanal Certificate: 12 Duration: 119 mins Release Date: 26th December 2017