LOGAN LUCKY gets 7.5/10 Take me home, country road

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough

7.5/10

The Logan brothers have never had much luck, well none that’s been any good. When Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) looses his job, and his ex-wife states that she’s moving across state lines with their daughter, Jimmy hits on a desperate plan. With the support of his one-armed brother (Adam Driver), and his lead footed sister (Riley Keough), Jimmy plans to rob the NASCAR speedway during one of the busiest times of the year. To do this they will need the help of the one true yegg they know, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who is unfortunately behind bars.

In some ways Logan Lucky is more reminiscent of an early Coen Brother’s film than one by Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Traffic). Its rural setting, peculiar pacing, eccentric collection of characters, dry humour, and buckets of oddball charm, all ring of this. It’s a far cry from the Ocean’s series of films that Soderbergh directed, and you can’t help but feel he is taking some glee in breaking from that mould.

Logan Lucky doesn’t cleave to the heist formula that has become common in the decades since Ocean’s Eleven (2001) refined it to a honed edge. We don’t get the “here’s how it’s going to go down” sequence with an edited run through of the plan. We don’t get an antagonist working to thwart the daring robbery, getting ever closer, and adding complications (Hillary Swank’s character is the closest to this role, and only appears very late in the film). Soderbergh recognises the conventions that he helped to popularise and, if not subverting them, strategically down plays them. The result is something that is less slick, but full of its own charm and humour.

It’s something the cast feels comfortable in selling. Tatum and Driver are wonderful as the Logan brothers. Their laconic attitude, and comfort around each other makes the familial relationship believable. Riley Keough fits comfortably here, but is also the odd one out with her slight tom-boy attitude. Craig takes flight obviously relishing the comedic potential, and extreme juxtaposition from Bond that his role allows. The only sour note is Seth MacFarlane seems out of place, looking more like he’s in an unsuccessful SNL skit with a bad wig and fake mustache.

As this film refers to itself, this is “Ocean’s 7-11”. A heist film for those that live in trailer parks, rather than frequent the Riviera. Yet Logan Lucky is a film that is ultimately heartfelt and kind to its characters. Even if it is willing to have a laugh along the way, it embraces a love of country and small town values (and an awful lot of John Denver). The result is an oddly comic film, that might struggle to find its viewing audience.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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