Logan Lucky (2017) (Review)

After the disappointment that was The Hitman's Bodyguard, it was down to Logan Lucky to end the summer cinematic window with a bang, rather than a whimper. Logan Lucky sees director Steven Soderbergh return from his self-imposed exile to helm a clever crime-caper which has been making waves with critics and fans but otherwise struggled to find a following from general audiences. Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Hilary Swank and Daniel Craig team up for the heist and largely succeed with the mission.

After being laid off from his job as a construction worker - dammit Jerry! - Jimmy Logan's (Tatum) day is worsened with the news that his former wife may be moving further away with their daughter, making it even more difficult for him to visit. In a rut, he proposes a robbery heist to his brother, Clyde (Driver), intending to steal money from an upcoming Speedway event. Assembling a team, including a convicted safecracker (Craig), the felon's dimwitted brothers and a romantic partner, the group must move smartly and quickly to pull off the heist on the venue's busiest day

Logan Lucky is stacks of fun, an irrefutably good time at the cinema and something wholly original. Despite clocking in at 119 minutes, the film flashes by like a speedway car in its final lap, hurling towards the checker flag in a whridlwide of energy and excitement. A potent blend of tones and genres across the feature length make it a refreshing watch, providing audiences with satisfying rest-bite from the tentpoles, sequels and remakes of late. It never outstays its welcome and understands how and when to balance the action and thrill of the heist with character-driven and emotional developments.

Writer Rebecca Blunt helps maintain that balance with ease. Supposedly making her screenplay debut - although many suspect Blunt may be a pseudonym for Soderbegh's wife, Jules Asner - any first-time nerves are non-existent in the final product and she experiences little difficulty in providing a confident, sharp script for Soderbergh, his cast and his crew to work with. Sophisticated and character-appropriate dialogue is woven throughout a story that rarely chooses conventions or cliches, instead electing a path that provides audiences with enough surprises, delights and shocks along the way. Whether Blunt/Asner is writing a complex set-piece or a straight-up, emotional character beat (Take Me Home, Country Roads is particularly lovely), she succeeds and helps excel the picture to great heights (or distances?).

Soderbergh is a big component of the film's success: his well-cheorgraphed and sleek movements emphasises the thrill of the chase, his tight frame-work accentuating the emotion perfectly, firmly establishing himself as a master in the sub-genre. Despite a couple of false-starts in the opening act, he streamlines the picture efficiently; it is tight, swift and slick, with some excellent set pieces placed at suitable intervals to keep us engaged and excited. Soderbergh is a confident and skilful director and Logan Lucky is an excellent showcase for that.

It is a very solid cast here too, with many playing characters anti-typical to their usual choices. Channing Tatum, usually the jock, plays an injured construction worker down on his luck, playing the damaged character with control and nuance. The developed relationship with his daughter is completely charming and loving, in part thanks to the impressive Farrah Mackenzie's performance; the father-daughter bond is true and authentic, heightening the emotion in later scenes.

Adam Driver arguably has less to work with in terms of raw material - but it is a solid performance and deviant to the his typical role, making it an interesting watch. He is reliably consistent and this is another feather in this cap. Most of the attention has been directed at Daniel Craig though - and he is a certified scene-stealer. Hilarious, witty and subversive, Craig relishes his time as Joe Bang and the same level of fun is had by the audience; fuelled by some great gags and a completely wacky personality, Bang is certainly a memorable character and one you want to be spend longer with. A spin-off, maybe? Hilary Swank's character was busy setting up the sequel and I'd certainly buckle up for one.

A country-infused soundtrack and score helps cultivate the environment and backdrop Logan Lucky is set against. The recession era has been explored before in Soderbergh's material and it once again demonstrates an authenticity in his work; yes, the set pieces and thrills may be magnified to rise the excitement, but the world it all exists in is very real and carefully represented.

Logan Lucky may be a little uneven, particularly during the slow start-up, and is arguably a little clunky in its patriotism and red-neck depictions - but it never takes away from how fun it all is. It's refreshing, original (even if it does borrow from the predictable on just a couple of occasions, it executes it in an exciting enough way to maintain your attention) and high-octane cinema, revving up the slow end-of-summer blockbuster window with an infectious, enjoyable energy. In that regard, it reminded me of Baby Driver, which can only be a good thing. Between Soderbergh, Blunt, Tatum and Craig, a smart, fire-cracking piece of cinema has been crafted and you will absolutely kick yourself for missing it.


Summary: Logan Lucky is stacks of fun, top-gear entertainment and a whirlwind of energy and originality. Between director Soderbergh, writer Blunt and Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig and Adam Driver's talent, a cracking piece of cinema has been created and you'll kick yourself for missing out on the excitement.