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Logan Lucky - Review

Logan Lucky

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

STEVEN Soderbergh makes a very welcome return to the world of film with the thoroughly enjoyable Logan Lucky.

Playing like a middle America version of Ocean’s 11, in which a group of down-on-their-luck everymen (rather than super suave high rollers) aim to improve their fortunes by robbing a NASCAR circuit mid-race, this is as deceptively smart as it is hilariously fun.

For those discerning enough, Soderbergh’s film can even be taken as something of a commentary on Trump’s America, not to mention a well aimed pot-shot at the vagaries of playing the studio system in Hollywood (something the director had tired of before segueing into TV).

Here, the little guy – or independent spirit – is very much looking to get one over the corporate big-wigs, who really don’t see them coming.

First and foremost, however, Logan’s Lucky feels like a filmmaker re-indulging a passion. It’s beautifully shot, as stylish as ever, impeccably acted and typically articulate.

Soderbergh deliberately takes time to build up his characters before throwing them into the heist, during which he dazzles with the intricacies of the job itself while maintaining a fine balance between the comedy and the tension.

Heading up the robbers are the Logans of the film’s title – two unfortunate brothers whose run of misfortune makes them the butt of their local town’s jokes. Channing Tatum plays Jimmy, a well-meaning labourer and dad (now divorced), whose busted knee prevents him from holding down am honest job (due to insurance risks).

Adam Driver, meanwhile, plays Clyde, an ex-soldier turned bartender who lost an arm in a car accident he was involved with while coming home from his tour of duty. Together, they enlist the help of an incarcerated explosives expert, Joe Bang (a peroxide blonde Daniel Craig), his redneck brothers (Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid), and their sister (Riley Keough), which also entails springing Joe from jail.

Just as he did with the Oceans series of films, Soderbergh has meticulously created a believable world into which to toss his characters, while also drawing on a clever script by Rebecca Blunt that throws in plenty of surprises – both in terms of sleight of hand and just how hilarious things can get. On this occasion, however, the working class feel to proceedings makes things more relatable.

But then Tatum and Driver work hard to ensure their brothers, while certainly unlucky, are genuinely endearing and worth rooting for, lending their characters a real sense of hardship but good heartedness. While Craig is brilliant fun as the larger than life Bang, whose look and sense of style is certain to become a cult favourite.

The film isn’t without some faults. As strong as many of the main characters are, some of the support either struggle to generate the screen-time they deserve (with the likes of Hilary Swank, Katherine Waterston and Katie Holmes under-developed), while others grate (step forward Seth MacFarlane). And certain Soderbergh followers may well question why a filmmaker of his calibre hasn’t strayed further outside of his comfort zone.

But in the main this is a feel-good romp of a movie that shows what a dab hand Soderbergh is at delivering the goods in the heist genre. It’s good to have him back.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 1hr 59mins
UK Release Date: August 25, 2017