Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Logan Lucky - Movie Review

Steven Soderbergh just couldn’t stay retired. In 2013 he announced that he would be hanging up his director’s chair follow his Liberace TV-biopic Behind the Candelabra, which would have sent off a solid career on a strong note. But coming back must have been too tantalising a prospect for him as he makes his triumphant return with Logan Lucky, a heist movie not too dissimilar to the Ocean’s Eleven movies that he directed but given a new spin thanks to its setting in the South and its somewhat less glitzy sheen.

The film follows the exploits of the Logan family, Jimmy (Channing Tatum), Clyde (Adam Driver) and Mellie (Riley Keough), who have faced continuous bad luck all throughout their lives, with Clyde, who lost his arm in Iraq, believing that a curse has befallen the family. After Jimmy loses his job due to being seen as a workplace liability because of a bad leg he hatches a plan to reverse the Logan’s family fortunes by committing a robbery at his old work place, the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Assisted by eccentric demolitions expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), the Logans have to work together to pull off their heist during the biggest NASCAR event of the year and ultimately bring their supposed curse to an end.

The most important thing for a heist movie to be is well written; the plans made by the characters need to be very smart and make sense in order to buy that they could be getting away with a great amount of money (unless of course the characters are intentionally idiotic which requires its own skills in screenwriting). Logan Lucky succeeds admirably on this front; the plot is tightly written and it feels like a lot of detail went into the tight mechanisms of the heist as it astounds by its twists and turns that make the whole thing successful. Additionally the script is deeply witty throughout the whole movie. Whilst there aren’t too many massive laughs the vast majority of the dialogue has a humour to it that often feels very dry and always manages to be entertaining, and the big laughs are all excellent (especially a Game of Thrones joke which echoes many a fan sentiment about the books).

This is especially helped along by the all-round strong performances. Not all of the performances are fantastic – actors like Katherine Waterston and Sebastian Stan feel rather extraneous whilst Katie Holmes brings down the film somewhat with a miserable presence – but on the whole the cast does a fantastic job. Channing Tatum acts as a strong Southern everyman figure who captures both the somewhat dim-witted and the mechanically smart sides of Jimmy’s character and meshes them together in a very believable and relatable fashion. Driver is more deadpan throughout the whole movie and has more of a simpleton edge to him but he still manages to be likeable and enjoyable to watch. There are plenty of other scene stealers in the film, including Seth MacFarlane putting on a rubbish British accent to play a douchebag businessman in a performance that’s very funny to watch thanks partly to his over the top delivery. But by far and away the biggest asset of the film’s cast is Daniel Craig, who manages to shed the image of him as James Bond completely. With bleached blonde hair, a multitude of tattoos and a Southern accent, Craig is nearly unrecognisable as the somewhat deranged Joe Bang and he consistently delivers the biggest laughs of the film with his eccentric delivery. This is one of the best roles that Craig has ever done, mainly because of just how off kilter it is with the rest of his filmography.

Logan Lucky is a wonderful return to the director’s seat for Steven Soderbergh as he manages to take the heist film genre and breathe a refreshing new life into it. He succeeds in directing a film that’s well paced and very tightly written (by somebody who doesn’t even exist, no less!), being very smart in the way it treats its characters and the heist and being packed with very funny dialogue. The cast all do an astounding job, especially a real playing against type performance from Daniel Craig, which all adds up to Logan Lucky becoming one of the strongest films in Soderbergh’s filmography.

Logan Lucky – directed by Steven Soderbergh, written by Rebecca Blunt, produced by Channing Tatum, Gregory Jacobs, Mark Johnson and Reid Carolin, starring Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, Riley Keough, Katie Holmes, Katherine Waterston, Dwight Yoakam, Sebastian Stan, Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid, Hilary Swank and Daniel Craig. A Bleecker Street film

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