Logan Lucky Review: Soderbergh Comes Out of Retirement For Some Fun

Photo Credit:http://variety.com/2017/film/news/logan-lucky-trailer-channing-tatum-adam-driver-daniel-craig-steven-soderbergh-1202446990/

Retirement has proven to have little permanence in the film industry. Steven Soderbergh’s return to the big screen has been highly publicized, but it’s not exactly surprising. After such a claim of being done, however, one might expect Logan Lucky to be the type of idea film that brings a great director roaring back to cultural prominence. But that’s never really been Soderbergh’s style. Instead, this is an incredibly reliable filmmaker doing what he does best with very little variance, which makes for an undeniably fun viewing experience.

Logan Lucky is a heist film in the most classic sense (except that it borrow’s the sense of humor from the director’s revered Oceans trilogy). Two brothers (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver, both great) living in middle-of-nowhere West Virginia hatch a plot to steal money coming in to Charlotte’s Motor Speedway NASCAR track in North Carolina when one of them loses his construction job and can’t afford the lawyer to fight to see his daughter more often. Both brothers are Iraq War vets, with Tatum walking with a limp and Driver having lost a hand, but that seemingly doesn’t slow them, generating the film’s tension.

Additionally, they recruit a notorious local convict (Daniel Craig proving ever versatile) who’s already incarcerated by concocting a plan to break him out for the heist. Unlike most heist movies, where the zany/clever plan plays out in all manners of excitement, Logan Lucky has us waiting for them to fail, as they joyfully make it up as they go along. That’s the film’s greatest strength, its joyfulness. The film may be about two lower-middle class war vets, but it’s also remarkably funny, mostly thanks to the three principle actors who dominate the screen and our attention. Specific character work doesn’t matter so much, but Tatum, Driver, and Craig quipping and fumbling in front of a camera does.

At two hours, with the heist placed in the middle and a fair amount of story leftover after, the film drags a bit as it trudges toward its conclusion. But it’s ending is, for the most part, rewarding and worthwhile. So while as a whole Logan Lucky might not break any new ground, it’s fun, can-do attitude makes it an appropriately upbeat swan song to one of the most exceptional summer movie seasons of this young century. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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