Aida Vucic | 13/08/2017
Logan Lucky is the perfect vehicle to reinvigorate the classic character driven heist!
Our unlikely masterminds are the Logan brothers. Struck by The Logan family curse, they’re down on their luck. Jimmy (Channing Tatum) is a single Dad, whose promising football career prospects were shattered by a busted knee; his brother Clyde (Adam Driver) a stoic barman, who lost his arm in Iraq. After Jimmy’s injury sees him fired from his construction job at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Jimmy conjures an elaborate plan to rob the Speedway and turn their misfortunes around.
In typical Steven Soderbergh form, we’re introduced to the team, but in contrast to the chic and suave crew that is the Ocean’s Eleven entourage, the Logan’s band of criminals include their sister Millie (Riley Keough) as the driver, bleach blonde haired Joe Bang (Daniel Craig) as an expert on explosives and also an IN-CAR-CE-RAT-ED felon, and his technologically inept brothers (Brian Gleeson and Jack Quaid) as the hackers. The plan is flawed from the beginning, with their key member behind bars they’re heist also having to plan a jailbreak.
Tatum’s performance is convincing, but pales in comparison to Driver’s deadpan, sharp performance as Clyde. Alas, neither hold a candle to Craig’s stellar performance as the crazed, fanatic hardboiled egg eater and explosive extraordinaire Joe Bang. His piercing blue eyes, which have seen him typed casted as the seductive Bond type character, have at last been put to good use. He’s absolutely convincing and is the point of comedy for much of the film, a role unfamiliar to Craig and a gentle reminder to us that there is more than meets those blue eyes. It is an absolute tour de force of a performance, and reaffirms Craig as an exciting and interesting character actor. He's a huge presence in the film, and pushes out anyone else when it comes to being an effective screen player. Katherine Waterston, Katie Holmes and Hillary Swank all feel like unnecessary add-ons in the face of this incredible performance; un-impactful performances that feel like extended cameo appearances rather than actual characters.
It is a difficult genre, given it's predictability, but Soderbergh manages to produce a unique film. While there are times during Logan Lucky where you can’t help experiencing a slight sense of deja vu, the film can be forgiven with it's fast and quick script never letting us stop to linger at the clear parallels to Soderbergh's earlier work. Whether it was Soderbergh’s intention, the film subtly hits on some socio-economic issues, including the flawed medical system and the forgotten war veterans. One could almost be forgiven for mistaking Logan Lucky as a mocking indictment of the Southern States, if it weren't for Soderbergh's ability to convince, for the duration of the film, that his intentions are pure. This is particularly true with a late ballad from Jimmy’s daughter Sadie (Farrah Mackenzie), performing Take Me Home, Country Roads and stealing our hearts.
It's overcrowded and overfamiliar, but Soderbergh's Logan Lucky is a return to form for the retired director, and features one of the most outstanding, must-see performances of the year. A real "Joe Bang".