Back in 2001, Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven made quite the splash. In 2017, Soderbergh isn’t so much as remaking his own film (which, ironically, was also a remake) as giving us a new take on the heist narrative. One that may be just as good as Ocean’s Eleven. Logan Lucky is quite disarming in its humor and utilizes the talent of its ensemble cast to make it memorable.
Having just lost his job at the local construction company–and with a million other bills to pay, including child support for his daughter, Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie)–Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) plots to pull off a heist during one of the biggest events of the summer, a NASCAR race. It just so happens that the location of Jimmy’s old construction site is right beneath the NASCAR stadium. And so Jimmy enlists the help of acquaintances, outlaws (Sebastian Stan, Daniel Craig, Jack Quaid, and Brian Gleeson), his brother and war veteran, Clyde (Adam Driver), and sister Mellie (Riley Keough) to stage a massive heist.
Logan Lucky uses the film’s central locations (North Carolina and West Virginia) well and they easily engulf the audience in the setting and various socioeconomic statuses of the characters without ever overwhelming the audience. Soderbergh really plays up on the small town and rugged aspects of the characters’ lives. One of the most fascinating aspects about the film is the way in which the characters interact and react to each other. Everyone thinks someone else is less intelligent than they are even when that is usually (90% of the time) not the case. All hailing from the same town, they know each other by reputation and build relationships on the single shared experience they have together.
Even though the film serves as an entertaining heist film, Logan Lucky still has plenty of heart. Most of the heartwarming moments are centered around Tatum and Farrah Mackenzie, whose father/daughter relationship is sweet and touching. One of the more irritating parts of the film is the way it handled Katie Holmes’ character. It’s frustrating when all of the male characters, whether they have obnoxious habits or are not great people, can still be portrayed as funny, quirky, or strange, and still somewhat likable; meanwhile, Holmes’ character is relegated to the awful ex who dropped her husband because he didn’t have enough money and leaves her in a position where the audience might dislike her by default because her character is never more fleshed out and that’s not fair to her.
Since his career began, Channing Tatum has put on a lot of acting hats. Most likely pegged as an actor who could rely on his attractiveness and not really have a career (many are so easy to dismiss certain actors based on their looks), I’m happy to see his career flourishing. Tatum is getting to portray different kinds of characters and, thus far, has excelled at it. As Jimmy Logan, Tatum gives off a demeanor that undermines his tactical skills and quick thinking. Of all the characters, he’s the quietest, but he’s always internally thinking and planning while the rest of the group argues or talks too much. He’s the brains of the operation, but he isn’t loud and proud about it. He keeps his head low, but his eyes and mind are sharp. Tatum exudes a nervous energy that grounds his character in the reality that the heist might not go as planned, with jail time a very likely possibility. It speaks volumes that he isn’t cocky about the situation.
On the other hand, Daniel Craig, with his hair bleached, is the inmate who’s always ready with a quip and an eye roll. Honestly, the actor is a scene stealer and his comedic timing is impeccable. When his eyes light up, be prepared for fun. Adam Driver also puts in a good performance. As Clyde, he’s tight-lipped, reigning in his emotions only to have them burst at inopportune moments. He’s fought as a soldier, but in their everyday lives, it’s Jimmy who helps shoulder Clyde’s burdens. The remainder of the cast do a great job as well and their interactions are full of energy.
Logan Lucky is engaging, fun, and has plenty of unexpected humor. The film is a low-key heist plot, but with fairly high stakes and the characters each with their own distinct personalities. The finale takes a unique turn and it ends by striking the right balance of wanting to know what happens next and wanting to close the chapter. The ensemble cast is wonderful and, while the film does slow down a bit in certain areas, it’s quick to pick up the pace. Logan Lucky doesn’t try to be something it’s not and with its somewhat charming nature, it’s a heist film that knows how to keep it light without losing its edge.
The ensemble cast is wonderful and, while the film does slow down a bit in certain areas, it's quick to pick up the pace. Logan Lucky doesn't try to be something it's not and with its somewhat charming nature, it's a heist film that knows how to keep it light without losing its edge.