Logan Lucky (2017)

8:34 AM

See How The Other Half Steals.
 "Logan Lucky" is directed by Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Ocean's Eleven) and stars Channing Tatum (Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street), Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Paterson), Daniel Craig (Skyfall, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and Riley Keough (Mad Max: Fury Road, The Girlfriend Experience). "Two brothers attempt to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina". A great cast. A renowned director. A mysterious screenwriter. How lucky will audiences feel post-viewing "Logan Lucky"?


"Logan Lucky" was one of those rare films that I knew nothing about going in. I had heard about it and knew who the cast were but had not watched a single trailer. I kind of assumed it was going to be a film involving car racing. I was wrong...and I'm glad I was because that's not the type of film I was in the mood for. "Logan Lucky" is actually a heist film. This meant that the plot was driven and the end goal was clear. This really is a terrific cast and they are put to good use in this film. However, other than Daniel Craig, I don't think the others will be remembered for their performances. It's definitely worth seeing if you're a fan of Soderbergh's previous work or like any of the cast members. It's even worth seeing if you like car racing movies (like I was expecting). Although it's not the flashiest, fast-paced or most exciting of films, I think anyone who has a slight interest in it prior to watching will get a kick out of it and enjoy watching "Logan Lucky". 

When I say heist film, big action sequences and car chases come to mind. "Logan Lucky" takes a different approach to the classic heist formula. Yes, there is still a group of characters attempting to steal lots of money but it's all done in a much more low-key and subtle kind of way. For example, the actual moment where the characters send an explosive into the bank is possibly one of the most played-down explosion scenes I've seen. The tagline for the film is 'see how the other half steals' and I really think it's true in more than one way. For instance, 'the other half' could be mainstream Hollywood who steal with loud explosions, exciting scores and high octane action whereas "Logan Lucky" represents unconventional and more niche Hollywood where they steal in a much more realistic way. I certainly believed and was more on board with the heist plan in "Logan Lucky" than I have ever been for any mainstream Hollywood heist movie. This is a very understated film and I think that's going to put some people off who want it to go all the way and be this crazy and exciting action film. That's just not what "Logan Lucky" is. Soderbergh's work is very nuanced and lifelike. The plan was well thought out, the pace moved at a sensible speed and the characters reacted in a genuine way. Praise should also go to screenwriter, Rebecca Blunt who has done a pretty brilliant job compiling her first screenplay. She is a name to watch: 1. Because of her great talent 2. Because of the possibility of her true identity being revealed. 

I thought there was just enough development written in the plot for the film to work but I think some more explanation and details should have been provided. For example, I liked how the film spent some time establishing Jimmy (Tatum) as a character and his relationship with his daughter and ex-wife. The context of him losing his job acted as a motivation for wanting to rob the speedway. It's also mentioned that Jimmy and his brother have a history of getting into trouble. However, I did think that the actual decision to rob money in the first place came out of the blue. I understood that Jimmy's life was on the decline but I didn't really get why. To me, he didn't have a valid motivation to be committing such a serious crime. Although once I got my head around that and the film moved on, it didn't stop me enjoying what was to come. I especially liked the plan the characters used to get Joe (Craig) out of prison. It was a genius idea. I thought the subtle commentary on prison life and corruption in general was clever and worked with the plot. Another slight issue I had with the story is that the last 20 minutes didn't feel needed. The heist was complete and most of the money had actually been returned. However, the film spends the last 20 minutes with the FBI trying to track down the team. I get that this is quite a realistic angle to take which once again proves how grounded the film is but the story just took a very slow turn. However, the end scene and reveal was clever. "Logan Lucky" also left quite a few unanswered questions. This may have been done deliberately but I would have loved a monologue from Jimmy explaining why he returned most of the money. It was a nice touch that he paid all of the people who unknowingly helped him along the way. 

"Logan Lucky" certainly utilises its terrific cast. Soderbergh managed to cast each of the lead actors in roles you wouldn't usually expect from them..and it worked. Channing Tatum perhaps plays the closest to his usual character type but this time he has a Texan accent. To his credit, his accent is well sustained throughout the film and although there's nothing too memorable about his performance, he does a good job and I think Tatum has now reached the level of being a well-regarded and reliable actor. I haven't seen too much of Adam Driver, just The Force Awakens and Midnight Special. However, he once again impressed and I do see a great future for him in film. Daniel Craig makes the biggest impression. Whether that be due to his bleach blonde hairdo or his pretty wacky performance. I have never seen Craig like this. I was impressed and it's definitely restored my faith in him as an actor as he often comes across wooden and lacks charisma. He fixes that with "Logan Lucky" and I can only applaud him. The film does lack a strong, female lead but Riley Keough is the closest thing to that. Like Tatum, she's good but nothing too memorable. Finally, Farrah Mackenzie is a little star! She elicits the biggest laughs and has some of the best lines. Yet another child actor breaking the stereotype. 

From seeing other reviews and articles about the film, I've started to realise that this film was sold quite heavily as a high-energy comedy. Unfortunately, the film is relatively low-energy (but that's ok!) and I didn't find it all that funny. There were some moments where the audience laughed out loud but for many of those moments, it took me a while to realise what was funny. Just like everything in "Logan Lucky" is under-played, I would say the comedy is too. On the other end of the spectrum, I think that the film tries to say something about the other half, middle America in particular. Just like Sheridan's American Frontier trilogy, I believe that "Logan Lucky" was trying to highlight life for a particular group of people in the US. These characters aren't rich and don't lead luxurious lifestyles. They all have to work to survive, they all seem to get in trouble and romantically, things can be troubled. These are well realised characters who are true to life so what the film lacks in fun and action packed sequences, in makes up for with pretty well rounded and lifelike characters. 

"Logan Lucky" is an enjoyable and perfectly acceptable film. It's by no means the best time I've had at the cinema all year and I wouldn't be surprised if I forget it in a few months time but it was good enough. The characters are brilliantly written and the plot is easy to follow. There are some twists and turns towards the end which are intriguing, exciting but one of them slows the pace down a little too much. "Logan Lucky" isn't a flashy action-heist film, it's subtle and low-key and relatively low-energy. That's not a bad thing though. In fact, I thought it was a refreshing take on the genre. Craig shines with the wackiest performance I've seen from him and the rest of the cast do a nice job. This isn't a must see but it's a pleasant time-filler and would be worth the watch at a streaming price. Fun...but it could have been funner. Smart...it couldn't have been much smarter. Good...it could have been better. 

69
/100

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