The new Steven Soderbergh directed crime-comedy, Logan Lucky, is sort of like the Trump presidency, in that it’s entertaining until you start to think about it, then it doesn’t make any sense… oh and then there’s the redneck element.
Soderbergh is a smart filmmaker, so it makes me wonder if this whole story is a not-so-veiled analogy of our country’s current state of real-life affairs. I think a case could be made for that theory (don’t get me started), but, I’m probably just reading too much into it and giving the director and the script, by Rebecca Blunt, too much credit.
Channing Tatum is Jimmy Logan, a down-on-his-luck mechanic with a bum knee, who loses his job driving a front-end loader on a below-ground repair project to the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina.
Jimmy and his little brother, Clyde (Adam Driver), a bartender who lost a hand during his two tours in Iraq, decide to rob the Speedway in retaliation for the unjust firing of the older sibling; but they can’t do it alone, so they enlist the help of an explosives expert and urban-legend, Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), who is inconveniently doing time in prison.
The Logan brothers also enlist the assistance of Bang’s brothers, Fish (Jack Quaid) and Sam (Brian Gleeson), as well as their sister, a lead-footed beautician, Mellie, played by Riley Keough (who happens to be the real-life grand-daughter of Elvis.)
What follows is an elaborate hillbilly-heist with shades of Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven film series – with the big difference being that I never believed for a minute that these guys are capable of pulling of the complex robbery – and not many details are provided to convince me otherwise.
For instance, a detailed jailbreak is executed, but the minutia behind how Jimmy Logan could possibly plan and implement such a feat is never explained… it just happens. Again, kind of how the Trump voters expect their guy will build a wall – don’t bother them with the details of how it will be achieved.
Logan Lucky also stars cute, young Farrah Mackenzie as Jimmy’s daughter; Katherine Waterston as his love interest, Sylvia; Katie Holmes as his ex-wife; Seth MacFarlane as a British NASCAR racecar owner; Sebastian Stan as that car’s driver; Dwight Yoakam as the penitentiary warden; and Hilary Swank as a hard-boiled FBI agent.
These are a lot of interesting, fun-to-watch characters, luckily, because otherwise this movie would collapse under the weight of its nonsensical narrative. And if you are expecting a totally screwball comedy, that’s not this movie. It leans more towards drama than laughs – although there are some very funny moments. (A prison standoff involving George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones books is hilarious.)
It’s fun seeing Daniel Craig as crewtopped, southern bomb expert, but Adam Driver stands out as the star in this film; and in the past year, with excellent performances in films like Silence, Paterson, and Midnight Special, he has become an actor I’m excited to watch in anything.
Despite its flaws, I did enjoy this movie. It showcases a ton of entertaining talent, it just has some enormous plot holes that require you to check your brain at the ticket counter; but better there than at the voting booth. Grade: 6.5/10
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