Steven Soderbergh knows how to make a heist film. His Ocean-series instantly comes into mind when one thinks of the genre. So when Logan Lucky, a heist film directed by Soderbergh with his full creative control over the project starring Daniel Craig, Channing Tatum and Adam Driver was announced there was cause for major excitement. However, unfortunately it did not manage to completely live up to these high expectations.
Jimmy (Channing Tatum) who had a promising football career before his leg injury gets fired from his job as a construction worker, so in order to secure money for himself and his daughter he decides pull of a heist at the local Nascar speedway in West Virginia with the help of his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) and convicted Joe Bang (Daniel Craig).
The film twists a bit on the usual heist film pattern. We will not know the details of the plan until the act itself happens. This does mean that the second half of the film is highly entertaining, however the first half comes across a bit slow and even a bit boring, despite the fact that the script does not spend enough time to build up its characters. They only seem to be sketches of characters with otherwise high potential.
This does not stop the actors from doing their best, especially since all of them get to shine in something different than their trademark roles they are all desperate to get out of. Daniel Craig absolutely makes us forget his James Bond. With his bleach-blond hair, bulked up physique and tattoos he is the high point of the whole cast as he absolutely nails the experienced southern con-man (with a perfect accent) whose portrayal he clearly enjoys. Channing Tatum says goodbye to his usual pretty boy role playing a divorced working-class dad and shows once again that he is capable of high quality acting. And Adam Driver takes a break from playing a Star Wars villain and stars as a silent and stoic one-armed bartender which suits him quite well. There are smaller roles by Katie Holmes, Hilary Swank and Sebastian Stan but the film does not give time for them to shine, and their roles come across as cameos, especially for the latter two.
There is chemistry among the actors which results in great comedy with the well-timed and good jokes of the scriptwriter Rebecca Blunt who makes up for the boring first half with excellent dialogue and a highly creative double twist at the end of the film.
The film also tries to reflect to the life and problems of the society of the southern US with a sub-plot containing Jimmy’s daughter, but doesn’t evaluate on them too much which is not a problem as Logan Lucky is a comedic heist film, so there is no need for such moralising.
Logan Lucky will probably not have such a cult as the Ocean series does, since it is often unoriginal, and slow at times, but if someone wants to watch something light it is a perfect choice as it is funny, entertaining, has quite a few twists and contains refreshing performances by usually typecast actors.
Logan Lucky, 2017. Directed by Steven Soderbergh. Written by Rebecca Blunt. Starring: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Farrah Mackenzie, Katherine Waterston, Seth Macfarlane and Hilary Swank.
This review was written about a film shown by The Bede Film Society. This weekend they are showing ‘It.’