Logan Lucky, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is a film that is full of so much character. Not only do you have the eclectic selections of characters to enjoy, but you also have the all-American setting; filled with NASCAR, a lively culture that loves and respects its history and an overall charm and wholesomeness that just exists throughout the film. You take all of that and then inject it with the unique essence that makes up Virginia and the surrounding areas, and you get something that really stands-out and makes its presence known. And it is also a film that constructs and delivers a heist plot that keeps all the fun moving with purpose. This is a film that is brimming with wonderful amounts of charm and fun, and it never lets up. But can the film really be all enjoyment and no underlying problems? Well, let’s find out in my review.
Jimmy Logan – played by Channing Tatum – is recently out of work and feels beat down by the world, and all he wants to do is be there for his daughter, Sadie Logan – played by Farrah Mackenzie. So, with the help of his brother, Clyde – played by Adam Driver – his sister, Mellie – played by Riley Keough – and Joe Bang (someone who knows their way around explosives) – played by Daniel Craig – they plan to rob one of the biggest NASCAR events in North Carolina, where the take could see them all living comfortably for the rest of their lives. Let’s just hope nothing messes up their seemingly air-tight plan.
One of the main aspects of this film that could have possibly sunk it, leaving it to flounder, was its primary plot and the handling of it. Heist films live and die on the believability and the execution of the heist, and no amount of quirky characters and fun set-pieces can make it a rewarding watch, if it fails at that. It was the problem that plagued Oceans Twelve & Thirteen (two films that Steven Soderbergh directed).
But thankfully, that is not a problem that occurs in Logan Lucky. This is a film that constructs, lays out and then executes the heist aspect of the film, brilliantly. And the best part about it, is how it communicates all the necessary information to the audience. Everything you need to know; everything that you will see during the course of the robbery, is shown to you, either beforehand or during. For example, when a character opens the trunk of their car to retrieve something, if you look about it, you can see other things they’ll need for later parts of the robbery. It’s little touches like that, that keep the film from feeling like its cheating you. The later Oceans films would hide so much from the audience and then unveil them when it needed to, but it felt cheap, almost like the film was cheating. Logan Lucky does do something almost like that, but it doesn’t feel unfair when it does it, because it still gives you ample time to prepare for it, and it also drops a few hints for those audience members who are paying close enough attention.
So, the film follows one of the number primary rules of cinema: show don’t tell. If you follow along; if you pay attention to what the characters are saying and what little details are placed throughout scenes, you will feel more like a participant and less like an observer who is in the dark. It’s a much more satisfying way to watch the film. Instead of long drawn out scenes where everyone sits around and fully explains what their role is and how they will execute it, you simply follow along and pick up on what is being communicated to you – you are not treated like a brain-dead consumer of information, you are treated like an observant, smart member of the audience who can understand things, without needing to have it all told to you.
And here’s the great thing: the heist in which the characters take-on, is only one of the many great aspects of Logan Lucky. You have the main plot, which is entertaining and engaging, but you also have a film that is filled with layers of character for you to gorge on.
Now, when I say that Logan Lucky is a film full of character, I mean that in a broader sense. There is so much charm and expression to this film. Everything has that southern twist to it that makes it so welcoming and sweet. Each character has their southern drawl, which makes them seem more innocent and friendly and that is then offset by both the actions and the things they say. It all results in a film that is so joyous to experience; whether a fair ground where instead of bobbing for apples, they bob for pig feet, or instead of getting a horse shoe to wrap around a pole it’s a toilet seat. It’s these little touches (coupled with the overall selection of characters) that makes the film have its own unique little draws.
But let’s take some time to appreciate the actual characters, because both they and the actors who play them, are deserving of some love and some praise. You have the now unexpectedly dependable, Channing Tatum (Jimmy Logan), who was an actor who I never used to pay attention too, but in the last couple of years, he has really delivered some brilliant performances – I’ll never forget seeing him in ‘Foxcatcher’ and being blown away at the depth and the hurt that he brought to that role. In Logan Lucky he is at the lowest of the low point in his life, but the character is our primary focal point and as usual, Tatum holds the forefront of the film together.
You also have Adam Driver (Clyde Logan) who for me has some of the funniest lines in the film. His dry, witty remarks were always the cherry on the top of the scene he was in. He closed out so many dialogue exchanges by cutting to the core of the conversation and getting an embarrassing, snorting laugh from me. I really like Adam Driver and while many people seem to like to comment on how oddly proportioned he looks as a human being, I always think it’s something he utilises to then form a character who stands out – and stand out he does in Logan Lucky.
And perhaps the performance that made me most happy, was from Daniel Craig (Joe Bang). Everyone knows him as James Bond, and I have loved his run as the Martini drinking world saver, but even I can see a lack of passion in his most recent outing as Bond. So it is so nice to see him having fun with a role again. He nearly takes over every scene he is in and rather than being the broad-shouldered leading man, he is a joke dispensing, oddball. With his over-the-top accent and his over-the-top mannerisms; both the character and the actor seem to be having so much fun on-screen, which in turn transports into us, the audience, and we then get to delight in that fun.
The film is full of brilliant actors who all bring to life characters who almost seem pulled from a Coen Brothers film; that’s how quirky and well-defined they are. The only misstep in the film would be Seth MacFarlane’s (Max Chilblain) performance. MacFarlane also seemed like a character pulled from another film, but whatever that film was, it isn’t good. His accent is distractingly bad, as is his fake moustache – he was a scene killer and the less time he spent on-screen the better.
But back to the good things: like the fact that it is not only the main cast that shine, but also some wonderful supporting characters, who help to add the overall character of the film. All around, there is just so much to enjoy about Logan Lucky. It never over complicates itself, it never gets lost in the weeds of its plot and it always has something or someone to delight you with, and it will inevitably have you laughing at the film; the whole diatribe about the lack of a new ‘Game of Thrones’ book from a group of prisoners desperate to read it, being a particular standout scene in my mind. The film brings you in early on and you are more than happy to stick around and enjoy what it has to offer.
I am more than happy to recommend Logan Lucky. If you’ve seen the trailer and thought: “That looks fun.” Then you’d be right and you should listen to that voice inside your head and go enjoy this film.
So what did you think of Logan Lucky? What did you think if my review of it? Let me know in the comments down below. If you liked what you read here, then I’d really appreciate it if you would give my blog a wee follow. Also feel free to follow my Twitter – @GavinsRamblings – I’m usually doing the shortened version of this, over there. But I’ll finish up now by saying thank you and that I hope you have a wonderful day.